2002-07-04 - 7:49 a.m.

ďWelcome to my tornado,Ē he said yesterday as I nestled my weary head into his shoulder and sighed.


In the past week I have been on many highways, across borders of countries, of states. Iíve slept far away from my zone of comfort, Iíve lived each of the past six days without my routines in tact. Iíve been away from my books, my writing, my cats...even my curling iron has been left unplugged.

It is midnight right now and I cannot sleep. I gave up trying half an hour ago and have decided to stay awake for the remainder of the night. There is coffee brewing in the kitchen, my cats are sprawled across my bed with their bellies pointed at the air conditioner and I sit here, my eyes swollen and tired from a week of sleeping in strange places and at strange times. My limbs are a little shaky and donít feel quite as strong as they normally do because I have been out of my normal exercise routine and I havenít been eating as well as I normally do. Everything on my body feels as though it belongs to a different person, every thought I have is a thought that doesnít feel familiar. And yet I am happy. There is one spot somewhere deep within my abdomen that feels as though it is being tickled. There is a giggle echoing from it, the remnants of laughing so hard, so completely that it is still vibrating within me. I feel as though I have indeed been swept away by a tornado. But only in a good sense. As though those twisting winds have reached inside me and taken away the parts I no longer needed but could not let go of on my own. Though I am tired, though I am not feeling physically well, I feel better than I have ever felt in my life.

It was easy over these past six days to hardly think about what was happening. It was easy to imagine that every day from now on would be spent with him. It was easy to forget that he lives 4,000 miles away from me. Easy to forget that I had decided to spend my life alone. But now, now that I am sitting again in my chair, my house quiet with no other humans sharing my air or space, I remember all these things. I remember that I will have to endure months without touching him, I remember that I have other things to do in this life and that falling in love was not one of them. I remember that only a few weeks ago I said with utter confidence that I was happier and more content than I have ever been in my life. I said that before he came swooping in.

In the past six days I realized that I did not know how to laugh. As we came crashing over a hill in a boat at Cedar Point and the water whooshed over us as the ride came to a sudden halt, I felt it, I felt something grip in my belly that needed release, but I couldnít remember how to laugh for a long moment. Then suddenly it came, like the muscles in my stomach began to roll away the tension, laughing, my eyes squeezed shut, my hands in knots, I laughed and remembered that I had not laughed in years. And from then on I became fifteen again. Laughing with abandon at the imprint our wet bottoms left on the wooden benches, laughing at things that before would have elicited only a snicker from me. How is it when I said before that I was happier than I have ever been that I forgot I hadnít laughed in so long that I had forgotten how to do it?

Right now, at this moment, I can say with certainty, that I am happier than I have even been in my life. Even though I know he leaves in a week and that I wonít see him again for several months, I know that what he has given me in these last days will sustain me until I see him again. I will figure out how to make this work. I will figure out how to live a life without him, and how to live a life with him.

Now that I know how to laugh things will be much easier.


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