I don’t recall why we made the decision for John to come stay with me after being released from the hospital. But there he was, stitched up swollen lips and broken teeth sitting on my deck drinking coffee from a straw.
He had doctor’s orders not to drive because they were still trying to figure out the extent of his brain injury. So there I was waiting on him and nursing him back to health.
The guy who forgot he’d said, “I love you Loretta” to me the night before the accident.
The one who was facing a felony charge for running from the cops, and the man who now looked more like Sloth from Goonies than Michael Fassbender’s Magneto.
What the hell was I thinking?
Honestly, I wasn’t thinking. I was listening to my heart, which had gotten me in trouble more than once.
When John had left my house that morning, the last one before the accident, he said he had business to attend to. He wanted to take me to his favorite place for my birthday.
So just five days after being released from the hospital, I drove us to Pismo Beach to celebrate my birthday.
We were about half way to our destination when John got a phone call he said he had to take. It was from an ex-girlfriend who had learned of his accident. John was clearly uncomfortable chatting with her in front of me, and then told her, “I can’t talk right now, I’m in the car with…somebody.”
I was just reduced to somebody. A week earlier I was his girlfriend, only now I was just somebody. That hurt.
When he got off the phone, I confronted him about it. He responded that he didn’t want to hurt her feelings by telling her, over the phone, that he had a girlfriend.
The little girl inside of me wondered, “what about my feelings?”
But I kept driving. By the time we got to Pismo Beach, John needed to rest. He fell asleep at 6:30 and was out for the night. I walked downtown to grab dinner with a side of self-pity and celebrated alone.
The next day the plan was to drive farther south. My oldest son lived in Santa Barbara and John’s best friend lived in San Diego where my youngest son just happened to be for Navy business.
It was a chance to see both my sons, and to meet John’s best friend. So once again, I got behind the wheel and drove “Sloth” on to our next destination.
Okay, he wasn’t quite Sloth…he had taken me out for breakfast and was profoundly sorry for ruining the evening. I remember he bought me a big cinnamon roll and sang happy birthday to me, which made him look more like Magneto for a second.
It was great to see my oldest son and get a Birthday/Mother’s Day hug from him. He had met John prior, so I wasn’t too concerned with that meeting.
I was a little worried, however, that my youngest’s first introduction to my boyfriend was not the John I wanted him to see. But luckily my son has a good sense of humor and just poked fun at him for it.
We drove back to the Bay Area on Sunday, Mother’s Day and I dropped John off at his apartment in Benicia. We hugged and said goodbye and as I drove away, I had to wonder if that would be the last trip we would have together.