I Call Two States Home

I've been absent from the blogging world for a few days. A week, actually. Soon after I posted a collage last Friday, my computer went haywire with viruses. The whir of the fan in my computer couldn't cool it; red alert messages popped up, warning me of potential hackers, functional losses and stolen information. Within 20 minutes, my trusted eight-year-old Compaq went from fully operational to decrepit-ly unusable. A system restore wasn't possible; essential files had been corrupted.

Fortunately, I have a Hans. A Hans who majored in Educational Technology and can pretty much mend any technological problem. (In the more than two years I have known him, the one thing he could not fix was a corrupted file on a flash drive. That night, I downed two consecutive Mountain Dews and wrote a ten-page final paper in four hours.)

My computer sat, untouched and dusty, for the last few days that I was in Iowa. Instead of editing photos and scheduling blog posts (which is what I had been doing when my computer first entered its coma), I sat on the floor, learning my back against my bed. My thumbs diligently tapped at my wireless Playstation 2 controller, directing Jak & Daxter through two complete adventures before I was forced to pack clothes, swimsuits, books, towels, toiletries and tennis shoes into a blue suitcase.

The birds were not even chirping when mom and I left for the airport. Morning breath didn't even have time to form in the one-and-a-half hours of sleep I managed the night before. Despite the hour, mom and I found the airport full of people escaping the city, leaving the flood. I was one among hundreds of tired-eyed people who donned sweatpants and flip flops. Mom and I stood together in the security checkpoint for as long as we could, joking about fanny packs. The line moved quickly, and we soon said goodbye; a tight hug, a kiss on the cheek, a promise to call when I reached Chicago.

The sun was just beginning to rise when the plane took off at 5:45, but more storm clouds were thundering into the area, plaguing the metro with threats of hail and endless rain. As the plane rumbled down the runway and elevated over the Missouri, gasps resonated throughout the cabin. We could see how terrible the flooding was; how farmland was destroyed, how homes were abandoned and underwater. The airport itself was threatened with rising water, and heads shook in disbelief. "Nothing like '93," they said. "It'll be worse."

It was quiet for the remainder of the flight; no one spoke. We were tired. Sleeping. Shaking from the turbulence that rattled our feet for nearly an hour. I wasn't in Chicago for very long; after the phone call home, a cinnamon roll, and a trip to the bathroom, I was boarding my second flight.

Less than an hour later, I glided over Butler, over Speedway. Get off plane. Check. Phone call. Restroom. Check. Check. Baggage Claim. Check. Hans.

There he was, hair longer than I remembered, beard trimmed. The shorts I bought him. The golden Purdue shirt he wore was the same one he handed to me last May, the day he left for India. I had taken the shirt home with me, slept in it until his smell had faded and the only aroma that echoed from it was my own Midnight Pomegranate.

"Hi Sweetie!" I said. A hug, a kiss. My fingers ran through his hair.

Hair that, just yesterday, was windblown and swirled. Hair that, just this morning, mimicked a rooster’s comb. Our amusement over the appearance of his hair is only a small portion of the laughs we have shared over the past few days. So far, we have spent the cold, damp days vacationing at the lake with his family. Despite the misty wind yesterday, we hopped aboard a jet ski and traversed across the lake; I clung to his life jacket, laughing into the wind as the breeze forcibly breathed into my own nostrils. We tickled each other on the emerald green couch, tossed ChapStick and water bottles at each other. We giggled, talked, reminisced and dreamed.

And it's only been four days.


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