So I am back in the U.S. of A. after a month abroad, and was sitting down a few minutes ago to read the fourth chapter of David Copperfield for my Dickens book group (it is the chapter in which David comes home from an idyllic seaside holiday to find his mother remarried to the tyrannical and grimly named Mr. Murdstone) when I found it was making me so profoundly anxious that I actually HAD to close the book and put it aside.

So, to dispel my anxiety, I will tell a brief, happy tale, a tale which expands on the themes of poor David's experience.

My trip back from the UK was long, tedious, and distinctly uncomfortable. It involved a whole day of travel, several enormous and leaden bags (despite my resolution not to bring many books on this trip), two underground lines with no elevator access, a claustrophobic daytime plane trip in which everyone around me glared hatefully at me whenever I turned on my light to read, a LONG bus ride into New York, and then a LONG train ride out of the city again -- all before I arrived at my apartment and lugged the massive baggage up the &^%* stairs.

So I arrived at JFK airport in a fairly frayed mood, let us say. And when I arrived, I had a message on my cellphone from my California-dwelling boyfriend of seven and a half years, whose tone usually ranges broadly from deadpan to taciturn. In this message, however, he sounded rather upbeat, although all he said was something along the lines of "Call me to let me know you got in OK." So, as I waited for my luggage in a room that was (of course) rather weak in the cell phone service department, I became intrigued by this unusual tone and called him back to say "I'm here!" To which he replied: "That's good. So... [crackle crackle crackle] will you be [crackle crackle crackle]...."

"What?" I replied. "Say that again?"
"I can't [crackle crackle] reception [crackle]!" came his answer.

So, driven to the edge of annoyance, I yelled, "DID YOU HAVE SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO TELL ME?? TELL ME BEFORE WE GET CUT OFF!!!," drawing stares from those around me, including the customs officials.


-he said, in an abashed sort of way. Which of course, made me feel abashed in return.

When I called him back from outside the airport (waiting interminably for the bus to the city), I apologized for my frustrated yelling, and explained that the tone of his message had planted an odd seed of hope that he would be waiting outside the arrivals area with one of those little signs. He laughed and said that in that case, he should probably hop on the train. "You are the world's worst liar," I said, and he moved on to describe the chores he had been doing, and how he needed to make an appointment with his dentist (as I was haranguing him to do that day or the next). I spent the rest of my bus and train rides sulking unfairly at him from afar for not surprising me at the airport, after traveling across the country in secret to visit me.

So I dragged myself up the stairs of my apartment, and who should be sitting in our living room, watching TV, but my boyfriend.

Who, I should clarify, is in fact the world's BEST liar. I'll have to keep my eye on him....

4 Responses so far.

  1. Melwyk says:

    Welcome home! I really hate long distance travel, for pretty much all the reasons you give. Enjoy your homecoming with your sneaky boyfriend, though! :)

  2. kookie says:

    That is the most wonderful story, Ariel. Now, I'm a little in love with your boyfriend. I hope you hold on to him with all your might.

  3. Ooh! What a wonderful gift to come home to after such a long trip! I am glad you made it safely home, Ariel.

  4. Thanks for the support, everyone!

    (I'm a little in love with my boyfriend too, kookiejar, so I was totally charmed by your comment.)

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