The Nostalgic Tourist

Published March 29, 2006

Flight 643 to Chicago. The red-eye. I have no luggage, but carry tons of baggage. My seat is in the upright position. Seat belts are fastened. Tray table stored. I am the nostalgic tourist, and I am going home.

In my mind, I replay the events that just transpired. Standing on that welcome mat as Jane started to shut the door, I did find the words. I found the words I was looking for, and they flowed out of me into the California air. Non-stop, I told her how I found my way to her doorstep. I told her why I came to see her.

I told her this: "There is this little girl inside of you I fell in love with, this little girl that would take my hand and show the awe in the world. I came here tonight to see that girl, to grab her hand. I wanted to ask her if she ever thinks about me. I wanted to ask her, may I have this dance?"

Jane closed her eyes for a moment then opened them. She replied, "Phil, I was there two years ago. Now I'm here. I can't go back. Now you need to let go." And we left it at that.

Chicago. Home. I arrive in my apartment wearing the same clothes I left in a day earlier. It is good to be home. I turn on my CD player, and Nick Drake begins to fill the morning air. I turn on the coffee machine and begin to percolate myself some energy. It is 6:00 a.m., Friday. The day belongs to me. Carpe Diem.

art beachsunsetJust then, the phone rings. It's Jane. Upon hearing her voice, I instantly do the time math and realize it's 4:00 a.m. in California.

"Insomnia again?" I inquire. She confirms, and I make an apropos comment of how I wished it was thoughts of me that were keeping her awake.

She laughs, and suddenly I feel closer to her than when I was standing on her doorstep. I guess I give good phone. We talk for two hours. Before we hang up, she points out the oxymoron. I'm in Cali, and we spend two minutes together. Apart, we talk for hours.

"Four, five hours. Whatever it takes," I say. I am the spin-doctor of our relationship's finest moments, and the honesty of her silence after that pulls us closer than we have been in years. See, I just played the relationship backwards, and it sounds just like one of our favorite songs. One we could have danced to, endlessly through life. If. Only if.

I don't expect her to respond, but before she goes she softly says, "I'll always be your Weakness." And we leave it at that. An unfinished story. An incomplete film. An endless song. Maybe a nostalgic tour planned for another day.

The End