A few years back, I developed a penchant for remembering the dates of obscure
life events. I'm not sure why the habit developed or why it has since faded
away... But I have learned that as you get older, if you have a lot of dates
stored in your brain, it's almost always the anniversary of something.
Tomorrow, for instance, is the four year anniversary of the most expensive
kiss of my life.
The first half of 2004 was quite a roller coaster ride for the relationship
between Alex & I. Although it was one of many that our friendship had
taken over the previous six years, I worried that it would be the last ride.
In fact, we'd been on an unofficial hiatus from each other when she broke
the silence in late June to call and say that her daddy was dying.
When her father passed away the first week of July, I drove down to visit
Alex for the first time since a Memorial Day weekend conversation ended with
me deciding that a serious, committed relationship with her was something
I didn't want to do. Going into that weekend, I had knots in my stomach that
would rival the biggest job interview... but, in the end, it was a good weekend
-- even if the occasion that brought us together wasn't.
The two of us went riding the back roads after the visitation. I joined the
family for lunch before the services and sat with them during the funeral.
Alex & I napped together in the afternoon, I helped move flowers from
the cemetary in my truck and we sat in the living room with her family while
"Amazing Race" was on. As crazy as it sounds, that show -- which I don't
watch -- will always be important to me for that reason...
Sometimes, you make decisions that have the potential to change your entire
life. That night, I think I made one of those decisions. Although I didn't
want to leave, I thought that I needed to be at work the next day... so I
decided that I had to go. Risking hyperbole, I dare say that a part of me
remains in her front yard to this day. I know that four years later, I can
still feel the ache when I think back to that moment.
Standing at the door to my truck, we hugged goodbye. Alex's exact words escape
me at the moment, but she said something about a hug not being enough. She
leaned in and kissed me. Practically wobbly on my feet from the jesture,
I climbed in my truck, closed my door and waved goodbye. As I backed up,
my mind was still focused on my lips and not my rearview mirror. In a matter
of seconds, I'd backed my Ford F-150 square into the rear fender of her aunt's
That kiss? It cost $1,222.49.