I've been counting down the days til Richard came home. One week, and then three days, and then it was tomorrow, and then it was finally today - Sunday - and the counting turned from days to hours til I could leave the house. I tracked the flight online, heaving a relieved sigh when I saw it had arrived safely in Washington DC (apparently he took my mother's admonitions of no ocean crashes seriously). I pondered how long I should give myself to get to the airport in San Francisco, calculating approximate traffic density, actual distance, and the time it would take for me to find a place to park, and then find the gate.
As it turned out, I showed up with plenty of time - time enough to sit for a bit at the International gate, and then finally catch a clue and figure out that since the plane made a stop-over in Washington, it no longer classified as an International flight, and I needed to hoof it down to the absolute other end of the terminal if I was going to actually meet him when he came off the plane. I should have expected this, considering that I dressed up nicer and chose to wear heels, thinking I wouldn't be doing much walking. Silly me.
There was an incredible glare at the end of the terminal from the sun shining right through the windows, and I could barely see anything, but I found the gate. A little crowd of us started to gather around the path where they would disembark, and when the door opened, I wasn't the only one who leaned forward, straining to see down the jetway to find that familiar face.
He walked off the plane looking tired but happy, straight into my open arms. I held him tight for a moment, glad to finally have him with me again, and then dutifully pulled out the phone and called both sets of parents to report his arrival safe and sound to the San Francisco airport. We drove home, both of us talking back and forth, filling each other in on little tidbits of things we'd never managed to say in the emails and phone conversations with which we've communicated this past month during his absence.
Getting ready for work this morning, he picked up his keys from the table. Rosemary and Azrael materialized by his side, drawn by the familiar jingle. A month away, and yet they still remember that the sound of his keys is quite often accompanied by that fascinating red dot which dances all over the floor. I'd not touched his little laser pointer the entire time he was gone, but still they remembered. It's one of their favorite toys, after all, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, but still, sometimes it amazes me what cats keep in their heads.