Monday was not my favorite day. I got some news that a good friend of mine, who also happens to be my next door neighbor, is leaving. He's leaving earlier than planned, but it was not a surprise.
I knew it was coming, but I was in a bit of a denial, I guess. I always tend to be the 'sunny side up' kinda gal - and - for the first time in a LONG time, I felt justified in being a little bit selfish with this one. "He'll be here 'till summer, I just know it."
No. No ya don't.
Chris is a man's man. I mean, he's a woman's man, too. But - for me, he's a man's man. Living directly next door, his 'daughter', Honey-Bee and Chester have become best friends, just like us! We watched football last fall, watched one another's dogs when one of us had to go away (me more than him!), threw parties when I had company in town, stayed up too late talking about nothing, and sang cheesy 80's music in the car, with the dogs in the back. He has a true servant's heart; taking my trash out - walking my dog every day - constantly filling my ice bucket (I don't have an ice maker, he does). You know, the crap that I've been doing myself for 35 years, but hate to do myself, so he senses it, steps in and just....ahhh....
Lets me exhale.
This is what neighbors do. Remember those days? Those days of community?
My very favorite thing about Chris is his ability to read me - and (like I said above), his ability to sense things. Just when you need him. When I was in San Diego in November (doing the grueling 60-mile walk for the Komen foundation for breast cancer), I was in the first part of day 3....basically about 70% done. I remember, I was at my physical end. I simply could not walk another step. My feet, my legs, my head, my shoulders, my EVERYTHING hurt. I was at a pit stop - and I remember just sitting down, and, literally, weeping. Crying out loud - like a big nelly girl. Right when I thought "This is it, I'm calling for a van, I'm getting out!", I felt my BlackBerry buzz.
A photo text message from Chris:
KEEP GOING, MOM! YOU CAN DO IT!! YOU CAN DO IT!
I LOVE YOU, CHESTER
Chester and Honey-Bee November 2008
Who wants this man to leave? Show of hands? Anyone...anyone?
Last night, completely unplanned, I called him on my way to Bible study, and said, "Hey! Wanna go for a late night run to PF Chang's when I get home?" - which is totally something I know he'd do. We did - and it was great. When we finished, we drove around base singing those cheesy songs with the dogs in the back - looking at the lights over the water in Monterey and....
My very first Valentine's Day that didn't suck. What a blessing! We didn't make out - he's not my boyfriend - I didn't get chocolate and flowers. Shutup. It was just so refreshing.
...it didn't suck.
So. It's cheesy...but I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Chris came into my life for a season - for a reason. I don't even think he knows what a big impact he had on me. And, anyway, he's only going to Virginia, not Mars. As so many of you know, when you say goodbye to Toma, it never is the last time. It's just a little bit odd, for me, you know. I have been saying goodbye to my friends for 14 years. I work for the Army - It's what I do. I am so pre-programmed, and so de-sensitized to goodbyes, that it rarely phases me. I seldom cry when people leave or I leave. It's not that I'm cold and heartless, it's just that I know I'll always see my good friends, again.
For some reason, though (even though I know I'm going to see him again), it's leaving a big gaping hole inside. Even knowing I'm going to see him again doesn't make it suck any less.
Except that - I certainly hope he realizes that he will still have to do the trash on Monday nights. Hope he doesn't mind the commute. Duh.
Chris and Me - January 2008
Uncle Chris and Kayla - January 2008
Kayla is a BIG Chris fan - and a big Honey-Bee fan
(and now, apparantly, a big BoSox fan!)
Toma's Favorite Song Today: "Waiting for My Real Life to Begin" by Colin Hay