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This would be my new normal in my dating life...comparing everyone to Ben. Did I feel sparks like I had with Ben? Did I experience that immediate, magnetic attraction like I had with Ben Did he make me feel so comfortable, so at ease, so free to be myself like I was with Ben? If the answer was no, it became impossible for me to continue, even if I wanted to give it time to see if it would develop into something real.
Ben and I continued to keep in touch, but not as much as we had before. There was a definite emotional shift in our connection. I figured this was for the best, as I didn't want to set myself up for heartbreak. I thought about him all the time, but tried to let him go in that way and accept that he would just be my friend. He would just be the one that never was.
November arrived and I was completely stressed out. I was releasing my second album at the end of the month, along with the regular responsibilities of being an elementary school music teacher and preparing for a Christmas concert, as well as just normal life. I was spreading myself too thin, but that was par for the course for me. Ben called me around the middle of the month and told me that he was going to be flying home to Ontario, and that he would have a short stopover in Calgary. He wouldn't have much time at the airport but wanted to know if I could come and see him, or if I even wanted to.
Despite trying to emotionally distance and protect myself from disappointment, I didn't even hesitate. It didn’t matter that I would have to spend almost an hour driving there in rush hour traffic and almost an hour driving back, only to spend thirty minutes with him. I found a way to make it work. I asked my friends if they thought it was a good idea or if I was being crazy. I don’t actually remember exactly what they said but I believe the consensus was that it may be crazy but I had to do it. I had to take the opportunity to see him in person, even if it was inconvenient and even if it didn’t make sense.
I nervously got ready that morning. I don’t remember what I wore or how my hair looked, but I do remember stressing over it. So silly, since Ben was not the kind of person to care even a little bit about that sort of thing. I got to the airport, parked my car and went inside. I didn’t know exactly where he would come out from his flight, so I texted him and told him where I was waiting. My heart was racing. My hands were sweaty. I was so nervous, but it was loaded with anticipation and excitement.
I saw him out of the corner of my eye, or maybe I just sensed that he was near. I jumped up out of my seat and we hugged for the very first time. It seemed so surreal to actually be seeing him in person, not just looking at him through the tiny screen of my phone. I thought back to that very first Facetime conversation where it took us a minute or two to settle in and start talking. This was the same. We walked along, looking for a good place to sit down and chat with a slight awkwardness between us. We had shared a whole lot with each other since we had met in person. Now we were actually in the same place at the same time. It was hard to believe.
We sat side by side on a couple of chairs in the airport, not too far from where he would have to go back through security before getting on his flight that would take him back home. His plan was to drive all the way back to BC with his vehicle that he had back in Ontario, and that way he’d have it with him. He told me when he planned to leave and that he would come back through Calgary and we could get together again. Knowing I would see him again and that we might have a little bit more time together made saying goodbye easier. The thirty minutes was gone so quickly. It was just like our Facetime conversations...silly, fun, teasing each other, but also real sharing and connection. When it was time for him to leave, we hugged again and I wished we could have held on just a little longer.