Monday, January 09, 2006

The Return of G ...

His flight was scheduled to come in at 5:08 p.m. I got to O'Hare yesterday in record time. Well, we'll pretend it was record time. It's not like I actually keep records. Early, in any event. Scored a fab parking spot right near the entrance to the terminal. Got out of my car and noticed a dime on the ground. Picked it up and said, "This means his flight will come in 10 minutes early."

Wandered inside and checked the arrival monitors. His flight was now due in at 4:58 p.m. So I was right about the dime on the ground. Weird. Found a seat and started reading "A Girl Named Zippy." (Great book, but most of the world already seems to know about it as it was a Today show selection. Still, if you haven't read it, read it. It's laugh-out-loud funny.)

Eventually, time moved and I walked over to the area where guests could meet the passengers. G is easy to spot, as he's at least a head taller than everyone else. We saw each other from far away. He smiled. I smiled. I expected him to have more luggage. He walked up to me and kissed me and hugged me. "It's so good to have you back," I said.

"You're very easy to spot," he said as we made our way through the terminal. I'm sure he meant because of my height, too, but I'll also think that he saw the glow of my even-blonder hair. (JD outdid himself yet again last week.)

We loaded his stuff into my car and as I reached for the parking ticket tucked in my visor, he reached for his wallet. "You're not paying for parking," I said. I already had my wallet out and at the ready. But when we pulled up to the cashier, he thrust his arm in front of me to give the man the money. Sheesh. The boy is back in my life for 10 minutes and already my money's no good again.

He noted, from the receipt, that I was at the airport for almost two hours, and that I shouldn't have worried about picking him up.

"I told you," I said. "I like hanging out at airports."

Traffic was delightfully light and we were parking the car in his building's garage in no time. "I'm so fascinated by travel," I said as we made our way up the levels. "You woke up in a completely different part of the world today."

So he gathered all of his things out of the back seat and I gathered all of my things out of the trunk (my overnight bag and two bags of food, one groceries - because he'd been gone for two weeks, so I picked up a few things for the morning - and one dinner, because I didn't think he'd feel like going out, and I hadn't made dinner for him yet anyway) and we made our way to his apartment.

Don't you love that feeling of coming home after a long trip? Walking through the door is like a big sigh.

G, the picture of German industriousness, almost immediately set about unpacking.

My first souvenir? A bottle of wine. Riesling. G doesn't like the Riesling you can buy in this country. He told me that Germany exports the crappy Riesling and keeps the good stuff for itself. So I have a bottle of the good stuff.

He also brought me two kinds of hazelnut chocolate, a giant Gummi bear (very cute; I never want to eat him; he was a bit askew in his box, however, so later, G was banging him against the counter to center him; "You're manhandling my Gummi bear!" I said, but G didn't like that his ear was being squished; Mr. Giant Red Gummi Bear is now front and center), a book on German baking (he says it's for me, but who are we kidding, he wants to be the recipient of the results), and a little Swiss Army knife.

I used to have one. English Teacher Dave gave it to me years ago. It was confiscated in San Francisco in the post-9/11 fervor about taking anything remotely weapon-like on a plane, because, sure, I'd be able to take down a 747 with an inch-long blade.

When I opened the box, I said, "Did I tell you what happened to the one I had?" vaguely remembering that I had.

"Yes," he said, as he continued unpacking. He walked out of the bedroom to do something. I followed him. Kissed him. "That was very thoughtful," I said. Huh. Look at that. A guy who actually listens *and* actually remembers. Wow.

He also tossed an enormous bag of Gummi bears at me. "We can share those," he said. Well, sure, because it's 2.2 pounds of Gummis. "No," he said. "They're Gummi-bear couples."

Oh. My. God. They are! Two Gummi bears, joined at their little Gummi paws. Our Gummi bears are holding hands! How frickin' cute is that?! (We tried a couple this morning. Odd flavors for Gummis: peach, pear, apricot, banana, cherry, raspberry - yeah, banana-flavored Gummi bears; kinda strange.) But the even-cuter part is that he can put one Gummi in his mouth, and then I bite off the other half. He pointed to the bag when he was done chewing. "That's a lot of kisses," he said.

And he also bought a cookbook of German breads, in German. "We can use that together," he said. Yup, cuz my German sucks, and if I was left to my own baking devices with that book, I might end up baking adobe bricks or something.

But the piece de resistance of G kindness came out of his big piece of luggage: A new down blanket for me. The ones he has on his bed (if I haven't mentioned before, in Germany, you don't use one big comforter on a bed for two people, you use two, individual down blankets) are *so* warm. Too warm. For me, anyway. He's perfectly happy under his, but I almost die under mine. So he bought a lighter-weight one for me. I told him I'm like Goldilocks. He wasn't familiar with the tale. So I told it to him and then said, "So the first blanket was too warm, the second blanket (we tried another one a few weeks ago; I was too cold) was too cold, so this one should be just right." (I tried it out last night. It's perfect.)

Now, it might be a very "girl" thing to get so excited about a blanket, but it's very thoughtful of him to be so mindful of my comfort, and it's not like these things are cheap, so I appreciate the gesture and the expenditure on my behalf.

I put dinner in the oven and we puttered around in the kitchen. He made dressing, I composed the salads. We had dinner. I passed muster on the dinner front.

This morning, he was up early. I shuffled into the kitchen, squinting. "Are you on German time?" I asked.

"Yep," he said, and kissed me on the forehead, and hugged me, and turned me around and shoved me back toward the bedroom.

But I got up shortly thereafter, and he made me coffee and he had toast from the bread I baked and brought. (I can't eat first thing when I get up. Don't know why.) He got ready for work. He kissed me goodbye. "Will you be here when I get back?" he asked. (I have keys for the day.)

"I don't know," I said. "When will you be back?"

He said if I was going to be here, he'd plan around me. "And if not?" I asked.

"I'd probably have dinner with colleagues," he said.

"Have dinner," I said. "You don't have to plan around me."

So here I am, at his desk, on my computer, ready to do some work and then meet a friend for lunch and then come back here to do some work.

And maybe I'll be here when he gets back.

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