Good morning from the most naive person in the entire world.
I should have been tipped off. I thought Ben couldn't pull himself together enough even to scramble the private plane and save me the agony of eight hours in my white noise hell of airports and airplanes where I sat directly in front of the gate and still almost missed the boarding call and then fought to hear everything else besides.
The poor college boy beside me on the flight thought I would be such a promising traveling companion until even after telling him I was flying without my hearing aids he attempted to carry on a regular conversation and gave up an hour in. I finally put on headphones and closed my eyes and let Trent Reznor welcome me to the big apple.
Where I didn't want to be. I made it to the coast with a panic attack barely in check, exhausted and scared to death.
When I saw Ben I realized he was...fine. He smiled, a huge unabashed grin when he saw me. He was sober. I was all what the fuck? and hello, I'm flying in to a strange city at night alone and what the fuck? and trying to get a cab that won't try and take all my American cash in one go and find the hotel and I didn't have a room number and they weren't going to tell me it and finally he appeared out of nowhere. He hugged me so hard I was immediately wondering who rescued who but then I was still so worried. I had no idea what the fuck was going on.
He didn't know any other way to stop what we shouldn't have started. He didn't want to open the envelope and have a ring fall out into his hand. He didn't want it to be over and he didn't want such a blow up over extended dates but he was scared to death to tell me. And then when Caleb showed up at my house Ben tried to get away to come home and couldn't and so he planned the whole ruse with help.
We stood in the middle of the lobby and in whispers he told me that yes, he lied. And yes, he knew I was mad and disappointed but that he didn't care because I was safe, I was with him and he was so very sorry but dammit if he wasn't going to find a way to get me out of there.
He said he got out of the last two dates and would be back by April Fools which is fitting. I laughed until I cried. Mostly in relief but I was still mad and I was exhausted from the long night. I started to cry in the lobby. Then he did too, so he took me up to the room he had booked.
Guess what room he had for us?
Yes, the butlered suite.The one with the piano (oh, and the automatic "honeymoon" package, which is what prompted Lochlan to start thickly spreading the not-so-subtle suggestion that maybe Ben and Bridget had run off and gotten married, when I called to tell him I had made it safely).
When we got inside and squared away and Ben orchestrated room service and a masseuse for Sunday, he encouraged me to tell him how I really felt.
So I did. It was outstanding. Harsh and unrehearsed and uncensored and then he had some words of his own. For the first time in our lives we listened to each other without a single interruption and then grabbed each other in an incredibly fierce and tearful hug.
We realized we now stood at just a little more important of a place to each other than ever before, and that's where we are now.
Then I was sent to take a shower, which pretty much finished me off. When I came out I took one bite of food from the table set up by the balcony doors and then I begged him to eat all of it so I could just sleep. I headed for the bedroom and almost walked into a mirror. I was asleep before I landed on the giant bed. I briefly wondered how I was going to climb on to, it was so high. What is it with tall hotel beds?
At some point I had a massage. I don't remember when. Ben says midnight that night. Ha.
Through the late night Saturday and well into lunchtime on Sunday I slept, and then we opted to stay in that giant bed and make it up to each other.
Sunday evening was an evening spent largely alone, thanks to Ben's schedule. By ten I was sitting cross-legged on the bed in Ben's t-shirt and nothing else, eating pizza and talking to Schuyler and Dan on the phone. Ben walked in a few hours later and said that was the best thing he had ever seen, even though I had tomato sauce on my elbow and one knee and was struggling to stay awake still. We took our final abbreviated night to try and store up enough of each other to last the next two weeks.
I was sent home very early this morning on the pretty little plane, happy to skip the chaos of trying to navigate public flying in a roaring vacuum. I had barely set foot back on earth when Ben was on the phone, saying the world had reverted back to black and white the moment I was out of sight for him, and that he would be home soon, and things will be fine. That he loves me. That he was headed out to buy me a present, but he wouldn't say what it was.
And then he thanked me for coming to save him.
The doorway stands ajar,
The walls that once were high.
Beyond the gilded cage,
Beyond the reach of ties.
The moment is at hand.
She breaks the golden band.