The drive to Cleggy's flies by and seems to take an eternity at the same time. We haven't seen each other for months and I fight to keep the car from going far faster than the posted limit. But I finally make it and go straight to pick him up from his second job.
I call to let him know I am there and before I can get out of the car, he has the building locked and is crawling into the passenger seat. One look at him and I want to hug him tightly, launch myself into his arms, and smother him with kisses all at once. Cleggy hugs me across the center consol of my car and I breathe the familiar scent of him, taking it in as deep as I can. I often find myself gathering as many sensory perceptions as I can and hoarding them for later when we're not together. For those moments when he feels a million miles away. They help to keep the loneliness at bay.
On the way to his house we stop at his main job so he can secure the place for the long holiday weekend. I sneak in with him because my bladder has just reminded me that it was a long drive with no stops. By the time I'm out, he's all done. As we are walking to the door he stops me. Demanding what he calls a proper hug, he turns me towards him and wraps his arms around me tightly. I sigh and relax deeper into his embrace. That one hug is worth the drive. When his lips meet mine I know that I would have driven much farther.
Reluctantly we separate and head to his house. As always, his family is waiting for us. House ablaze and ready to welcome us. It's as if everyone has been waiting for this very moment to arrive. As if their entire day has been leading up to the moment when we'd walk in. Or maybe it's me that's been longing for this moment.
Even though it has gotten him into trouble, Cleggy's nephew has stayed up past his bedtime to see me. I sternly tell him I'm glad to see him but he must go to bed. Before he walks down the hall to his bedroom, we share the secret smile of co-conspirators. He's my best buddy and he knows that I'd have stayed up past my bedtime to see him too.
It's a nice evening of talking and a bit of television while I try not to act like I'm ready to grab Cleggy and head back to my house. I love his family very much but I have been looking forward to some quiet time with Cleggy for weeks. Time seems to crawl slower than a snail on quaaludes. Finally after lunch we say our goodbyes and get into the car. A quick stop for gas and we are headed back towards my house.
Cleggy's musical odyssey begins and I'm a willing captive. He drives so I'm free to concentrate on the music. And free to give him the excited reactions he hopes for as he plans our travel CD's. As always it's an interesting ride. Cleggy's musical universe is an eclectic one and his sense of humor never fails to make me laugh until I cry or beg for mercy.
The next three days and nights are filled with more music, numerous movies, and copious amounts of sensory perceptions for me to hoard. We visit several bookstores and video stores. Both of us go home with several more things than we left home with. I take him to one of my favorite restaurants and through it all we talk and laugh. A lot.
All too soon Sunday arrives and it's time for me to return him to his family. After all they've only let me borrow him. The drive takes a bit longer than usual because I find the closer to his house we get, the slower I drive. What can I say? I don't want it to end. But reality intrudes and we both have jobs and responsibilities to go back to.
Two things get me by as I plod through my days. I will be spending Christmas with Cleggy and his family. Highlighted by an overnight trip together to see my brother. And best of all Cleggy will be here again on New Year's.
Last year we started a new tradition that I am quite looking forward to this year. More excited that I could ever be about a party or some traditional New Year's activity. All I need is DEAD MAN'S WALK in the DVD player, sparkling grape juice for toasting, and Cleggy beside me as the New Year rolls in.
Life truly is good.