Thursday, March 24, 2005

I'm A Believer

You may remember the little ditty about Jack and Diane...

I don't like to make promises. It's the reason I never did the formal, official, snowcone dress in the church thing with the X. I was happy to be with him for as long as he was happy to be with me — which was a long, long time, but not long enough. In the end, the lack of a legal document binding us did not preclude the necessity of my paying a lawyer $3,500 to dissolve us.

To stand before an officiant, before my family, before all my friends — never mind before God, whom I never mind anyway — and promise, promise that I would love this man forever, for the rest of my life, 'til death us do part was, for me, an impossibility. People change. Shit happens. Sixty years is a fucking long time. How could I be sure I could keep such a promise?

I made Jack a promise a few weeks ago. It's only the second one, and it was this: If you really do come to New York on March 19 to dance with me at Sara's wedding, you'll never hear about that other thing again.

But I wouldn't allow myself to expect that he would be there. If you keep your expectations low, you're never disappointed, and once in a while you're pleasantly surprised. I booked my ticket to New York just after Christmas, when Air Canada was having a seat sale. I arranged to share a room with Janice, Sara's maid of honour. I borrowed a stunning black sequin and chiffon cocktail dress from Francine, and bought the perfect pair of dangly rhinestone earrings to go with it on eBay. I shopped for Sara's wedding gift.

While doing all this I spoke to Jack on the phone a couple of times, and he continued to aver that he would be there. Not only at the wedding on Saturday night, but at the airport to meet my plane. And I continued to make plans as if he weren't.

On Saturday morning I put on makeup and a dab of Chanel No. 5, just in case. I drove to the airport. I got on the plane.

The flight landed about ten minutes early, at Gate A5 at LaGuardia. I would look for Jack at the baggage claim — he's easy to spot in a crowd, because he's always the biggest, handsomest guy in it — but if he wasn't there, I'd rent a car. Though the wedding, like the airport, was on Long Island, it's a very long island, and a one-day rental would probably be cheaper than a two-way cab.

I passed through security — you just walk through, on the way out — and was still in the A Gates corridor, heading for the escalator that would take me down to baggage claim, when I heard,

"Hey, you."

And there was Jack. Leaning, Bogart-style, against the wall.

"You should have snapped your Zippo. I'd 've heard that more easily."

"Can't do that in here," he said.

"That's a damned shame." I was trying very hard to be nonchalant, and I'm pretty sure I was pulling it off. "So, you're here."

"I said I would be."

"So you did."

"Let's go," he said, and he reached for my bag.

He had me at hey you.

It seems I've got a promise to keep.

* * *

Click here to read about the wedding. There might even be pictures. Or, go to the next story in sequence, Postmodern Sass's Greatest Hits Volume I.

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