"We're late, we have to get there by 4 o'clock" I shout from the bathroom. Rushed as usual, the anxiety is building inside of me and I feel resentful. I walk out. "Are you ready?"
"Yes, I've been waiting on you" he says softly. Annoyed at the situation I rush past him and grab my coat and purse.
"Come on then!" I say, urgency in my voice. "Even if we leave now we'll still be getting there late!" I stand at the door waiting for him. We leave together, walk down the hall to the elevators. Standing, waiting for the elevator car, I feel upset and irritated. I look at him, and his soft brown eyes are looking back at me adoringly, and concerned. He smiles, then meows like a cat and waits for my response. I sigh, and the elevator arrives.
In the elevator, he tries again. He bats his eyelashes at me and points with his finger to my right. "What's that?" he says playfully. I look, knowing the game by heart, and he places a kiss on my left cheek. I smile, and take a deep breath.
"God we're late" I think to myself.
In the car we sit quietly, I fidget with the stereo and put on a CD. I cuss the drivers and think wonder if we'll be 15 minutes late, or a half hour. After parking we walk towards our destination. Twice I have to prompt him to come along because he's stopped to pet a puppy or to smell a flower.
We arrive and aren't too late. We join my friends at the sidewalk cafe and sit down. He sits quietly, and looks off at the street. I talk about whatever comes up, but inside I'm sad and angry at myself. I wonder how I became so cold and distant. How did I get to this point where I shut everyone out. When did feelings become thoughts that are tightly controlled, then rejected because of time constraints? I think back to my parents, and my grandparents, and can hear the same dialogues about "getting there on time" in each of their voices respectively. My heart sinks, knowing full well where I learned this, and feeling disappointed in myself for not being able to stop behaving like them.
I think about other worlds, where things are as they should be... where I can just be in the moment... and there is time to feel and express myself. I dream of a time when the journey is more important than the destination. I remember when I used to enjoy every little bit of life and experience, before obligations and work stole my soul. I think of his smile and his "point & kiss" game, and I want to be like him.
Later that evening, when we are back home, I apologize to him, and cry because I know I'm wrong. I cry because I don't know how to stop. And I know that he understands, and I wonder if I can learn to slow down and appreciate more of life. I wonder if I can forgive myself the way he does. I wonder if I can be more like him. I think of the long journey ahead. "Will I ever get there? "
I curl up next to him and give him a kiss on the cheek, then wipe the tears from my face. He puts his arm around me and his eyes look at me brightly and innocently. And for the moment I feel safe and happy, and am full of the love that I feel for him. I think to myself "Maybe those other worlds I imagined aren't so far away". And in my heart I know- when I'm alone with him, I'm one step closer to getting there.