This morning I got to drop Allie off at school. Usually it’s Debbie, but today I took a stab at it.
I was a little worried. Despite being prepped by both Deb and Allie I still wasn’t sure about the procedure and the thought of a dozen mini-vans lined up behind me bleeping their horns made me a little queasy.
Instead of braving the circle drive of certain death I just parked in front of the school and walked Allie to the entrance. This was a good thing. I know by next year she probably won’t want to hold my hand in front of other kids. Today she seemed proud.
“There’s Abbie,” Allie shouted. “Today’s a little different,” Allie told Abbie. “Today my Daddy’s taking me to school.”
Abbie (or whatever the hell her name is) looked to be at least a year ahead of Allie. She didn’t respond to Allie. Instead she glanced at us as if we each had a medium sized turd perched on each of our left shoulders. Then Allie turned back to me and said, “Call me tonight from Texas.” For some reason this made Abbie (or whatever the hell her name is) pause for a moment to scan me as if she was looking for an I’m Going to Texas patch embroidered on my jacket. When the little snot didn’t spot anything that made me or my daughter any more interesting than the other people in the crowd she moved on.
I leaned in to kiss Allie and she grabbed me around my neck and squeezed. “Don’t forget to bring me something back,” she whispered. She let go abruptly and shouted, “There’s Brandon!” I took the distraction as my cue to leave. I watched Allie violate the rules and step off the sidewalk to greet Brandon (or whatever the hell his name is) as he exited his mini-van.
Allie and Brandon walked together toward the door. Then Allie paused for a second and looked back in my direction. She didn’t see me. That’s when she realized she lost track of Brandon and allowed the school building to gobble her up as she ran after him.
I wasn’t sad.
However I am glad I usually pick up.
Now here I sit in the Airport listening the guy on the P.A. lecture me about unattended baggage. He sounds remarkably like Bob Kevoian from the Bob and Tom Show.
I’m thinking about Debbie. I'm missing our anniversary (won't be the first time). Nine years ago, tomorrow, we got married. Our wedding day was a lot like this day (at least as far as the weather is concerned). Above average temperatures with the leaves on the trees just starting to show their true, brilliant colors all under a speckless, blue sky.
Despite their similarities, I know I’ll never have another October 19 like I did in 1996.
I remember how fresh everything felt. The entire day was a deep breath of clean, cool air. Yes, I was nervous at times, but that was only because I had to stand in front of most everyone I ever loved and cared about in rented clothing. That’s enough to unsettle anyone.
The getting married part; that was easy.
She was the one.
Always will be.