I woke up in a dingy motel in Whitecourt, Alberta. My alarm clock was showing 6am. I had at least another seven hour drive, so I didn’t want to hit the snooze button more than maybe a half dozen times.
This was the day I was finally going to see her again. It had been months since we last saw each other but it felt like forever. This was 1993, so there was no Facetime, texting or e-mail. Heck, the Internet in its most basic form didn’t even kick in for another two years. We had remained in contact solely through leeching off our parents long-distance phone plans.
By the time I reached Fort St. John, BC, it was obvious this was a different kind of town. It was also clear I was close to being pretty darn lost. I suppose I could have asked the passed out drunk on the bus-stop bench for directions, but he seemed to be sleeping so peacefully. This was clearly a boom-bust town. When lumber prices were good, times were great. When they weren’t, it was a dive of epic proportions. Around this time it was somewhere in between transition.
My destination was the hospital where Corinne was working at the gift shop. I sat in the parking lot for about fifteen minutes before going in. First I needed to take care of the essentials. I brushed my teeth and spit in a paper coffee cup, followed by checking my gorgeous hair in the rear-view mirror, and then proceeded to try and calm myself down.
It wasn’t like I was afraid she wasn’t going to be happy to see me. Clearly we both wanted this reunion, as honestly…I just drove over 20 hours across the bloody country. But I was a little concerned I was going to find myself in a situation where she might want to move on without me. I’d been there before, and there was a small amount of fear this might have a similar ending.
After getting some directions, I wandered to the area of the hospital gift shop. I came around the corner to see my destination and a beautiful young lady reading a book behind a counter. For a moment I backed away out of view around a corner. I checked myself over. Ok, shirt good, fly not accidently undone. Breath…yep, check.
Making my way slowly towards the counter, she looked up and immediately we shared a beaming smile. Holy mackerel, she was as gorgeous as the day we last saw each other.
When she came towards me, I didn’t know what to do. Would it be too presumptuous to move in for a hug? Maybe we should shake hands first? Vulcan salute?
I didn’t have to struggle with the dilemma long. She opens her arms and I fall in for a long overdue embrace. Some moments in time you know for absolute certain you are in the right place. This was mine. We were finally together again.
We separate because I didn’t want to, you know…seem clingy and all. But I just took in the beauty of her. Wow.
The plan was for me to stay at the family farm for a couple weeks. Then I was to go to Edmonton and get settled in with an apartment and job until she and her older brother would likewise get a place and continue college.
But for now, I had two glorious weeks to see her every day.