Friday, February 18, 2011

Dear Sir Departs

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
     Les woke me at 5:30 am. It had rained all night and was still dark outside. The sitting room windows glistened with beads of rain. I showered and dressed while he put the kettle on. We sipped our last cups of tea together talking quietly about his upcoming flight home. I was determined to keep things light. After all we were good friends now, and our friendship would continue via email as it had begun.
     His plane departed from Spokane Airport at 1:20 p.m. It takes an hour and a half in good weather to drive from Pullman to Spokane. We were stopping at the small farm town of Spangle on the way north to meet my oldest daughter Jesseca, my son in law Ben, and my grandsons Michael and Matthew for breakfast.
     On the road we sat pensively in our own thoughts as a frigid rain lashed the car windows. It was hunting season and men in camo with bright orange vests were out stalking the fields for deer.
     We pulled into the parking lot of the Harvester cafe just off highway 195, and Les held the door for me as we stepped out of the raw wind into the coffee scented warmth of the restaurant. Jesse, Ben, and the boys trooped in shortly after and we settled at a long table in the back around steaming cups of coffee.  
     Introductions made, the boys watched Les curiously, wondering about the man keeping their Mim company; his accent fascinated them and they were thrilled at the gift of a set of British coins Les offered each of them.
     Michael, aged ten, said enthusiastically, 'Wow! Thank you Les. Mim, what can I spend these on?"
     "You can't spend those coins Mikey Boy--they're English money." Michael knitted his brow and looked at me in confusion,"We're English aren't we?"
     Les laughed and said, "Clever boy."
     "No love, Les is English--we are American."
     "Well we speak English," Michael pronounced. I laughed wryly thinking to myself that his observation was debatable.
      We ordered breakfast and chatted over coffee as plates laden with hash browns, sausage, eggs, and toast were delivered. Jesse and I both sprinkled our potatoes and eggs with vinegar--a habit from my Welsh grandmother, passed down through the generations. Les and the boys dressed their plates with ketchup.
     "I've been trying to get your mother to carry a cell phone with her but she stubbornly refuses," said Les.
     "I don't need to be tethered to the world."
     "What happens if you are in an accident? That's my main concern Jaqueline. You might be hurt and you wouldn't have any means of calling for assistance."
     Jesse raised her left eyebrow and flashed me a sardonic look; known as the Great Mim's eyebrow after my mother, from whom Jess and I both inherit the ability to raise our left brow three inches toward our hairlines while the right brow remains placidly settled above our lashes, she replied, "We know Les. We've been after her for years to use a cell phone. We even bought her one for Winter Solstice a couple years ago. She never turned it on." My favorite eldest daughter smirked at me with her root beer brown eyes snapping a mischievous smile in Les' direction.
     "If I'm in an accident other drivers around me will all have cell phones and I'll borrow one of theirs." I smiled triumphantly at all assembled. Les laid down his fork and knife, turned and leaned in toward me. Gazing into my eyes from ten inches away his green-brown orbs flashed playfully.
     " you have fire insurance on your home?"
     "Well you should cancel it and if your house catches fire just rely on your neighbors to put it out." Eyes sparkling, Les turned back to his plate. Jesse and Ben hooted with laughter and a look passed between them.
     We finished up breakfast and sat for while around refilled coffee cups, talking and laughing, sharing stories. At one point Mike commented his hands were now larger than his mother's. Jesse crowed happily, "My hands are still bigger than mom's," and reached outward to place her palm next to mine. Her little fingers were an inch and a half longer than my own.   
     Les' eyebrows shot up in surprise. Turning to me, he held his large, hard working, masculine hands up and I placed my tiny hands next to his, palm-to-palm. We looked at one another a long moment. Les slipped his fingers between mine and we stared into each other's eyes. I noticed how perfectly our hands fit together; his hands were warm and strong, yet gentle. Mine were child sized, and soft with an engraved silver ring circling my right thumb. I pulled my hands away and caught a fleeting look of regret in his eyes that unsettled and puzzled me.
Spokane International Airport
     It was time to go and we all exchanged hugs and kisses. Jesse told me to stop by their house on my way home. We parted as my family drove off for Fairfield, and Les and I resumed our trip north to Spokane International Airport, laughing and chatting about my grandsons. 
It was clear he loved children. They were certainly taken with him.
     Thirty minutes later I pulled into the parking garage, shut off the car and we unloaded his luggage. Walking to the elevator I sighed inwardly. It was three hours until Dear Sir's flight 
boarded. I was not ready to say goodbye just yet.
      At the check in counter Les was informed his luggage was over-weight. The attendant explained  he could pay a $50.00 overweight fee or go to a shop and purchase another carry on and shift his luggage weight.
Spokane International Airport
      We purchased a carry-on at a nearby shop, unloaded a bit of his luggage into it, and Les returned awhile later with two carry-on totes in hand, having successfully checked his luggage and received his boarding pass. We sussed out a coffee shop, ordered lattes--a caramel machiatto for him--and sat watching other travelers come and go; families greeted one another and said good-bye. We talked quietly about his layover in Chicago and his arrival back in London. I made Les promise to call me and let me know when he arrived home safely.
     "I will be holding up your plane with my arms, and they will be tired by then."
     It was time for me to go. I told Les so and he walked me out to the parking garage. Reaching the car I turned to embrace him. Dear Sir hugged me close, my face tucked into his shoulder. I inhaled his aftershave; we kissed each other on the cheek and I said, "Good bye Les. Take care..goodbye," and got into my car.
     Fumbling for the seat belt, I watched in the rear view mirror as Les turned and walked off toward the terminal. The realization swept over me that I would never see him again. As I sat in my car, stunned at the force of my feelings, tears sprang to my eyes. I wiped them away with the back of my hand, started the car and looked in the side view mirror to back up. Dear Sir stood there watching me intently! I took a deep breath, backed gently out of the space, our eyes meeting for a moment; I raised my hand to him in a gesture of good bye. He stood watching as the tail lights of my car disappeared down the aisle.
     I've picked up and dropped off friends and family at Spokane airport for twenty years. I was intimately familiar with the parking garage and yet now I could not seem to find my bearings. Confused about the exits, I circled around five times, finally exiting into the leaden sky weeping tears along with me. After paying the exit fee and connecting with highway 195 south, I decided to stop in Fairfield and visit Jesse and Ben, but I was still crying and I couldn't find the Hatch Road exit through the blur of my tears. Driving by it and turning back three times in succession I finally managed to negotiate the turn off.
     I knocked twice and stepped into my daughter's living room. She and Ben sat on the couch grinning at me. Jesse was large with their third son who was due in December. I just stood there looking at them like a deer in headlights. Ben's gentle voice said, "He's a really nice man, mom."
     Jesse chimed in."Yeah he is. We discussed this on the way home. I think he's perfect for you mama--he's more than a match for you." A glance passed between them and they laughed.
     "What do you mean, 'he's more than a match for me?'"
     "That comment he made about canceling your fire insurance and letting your neighbors save your house..." she giggled in delight, "He's smart and he can keep up with you. He'll keep you on your toes." Left eyebrow raised, Jesse grinned at her dazed and dizzy mother, who sat on the couch looking surprised.
     "He is a nice man." Amazement stole over me as I realised I had feelings for Les. Per usual everyone around me was aware of my feelings before I was.
     On the drive home I reviewed the entire week. I had spent nearly every waking moment with Dear Sir. Not once did I regret having invited him. Not once did I feel uncomfortable around him or think, "He's such a man and I'm bored with his company." Les had been a perfect gentleman which allowed me to trust him; I could relax and be myself with Dear Sir. And he made me laugh! In fact the week we spent in each other's presence was the best week of my life.


  1. Jaq it was the best week i`d had in years. I was in the company of a wonderful lady for whom i had strong feelings for most of that week but felt it only right to show you respect as a house guest.
    E mails and phone calls after my return cemented our present relationship and now i`m back with you.
    A lifetime is now ahead of us based on one solitary e mail you sent to `Dear Sir`
    Thankyou XX

  2. Darling,
    Thank you for answering my email--and for knowing when to be a gentleman--and when not to!
    I love you!

  3. Hi Aunt Jaq,
    Wow I sure enjoy reading the blog especially this latest one. It's so romantic and funny. Les sounds wonderful and I'm glad you are happy. That part about the eyebrow is true for me as well and made me giggle quite a bit. My right eyebrow is worthless but the left one will lift on command. :) Anyway I can't wait to hear what's going to happen next. LY, Bran

  4. Wow .... if it were a book it would be a page turner - in blog terms this is a mouse scroller for sure.

    Romance, adventure plus a bit of intrigue.... and not cost me a Kindle penny.

    You two take care, that is some distance and some story !


    NB Waterlily

  5. Hi Brandy!
    I'm so glad you are following along and enjoying our love story. The family eyebrow is a great tool for communicating when words are not sufficient, yeah?!
    Love and big hugs,
    Aunt Jaq

  6. Hi Nev,
    Wow! What a great compliment! I'm thrilled you are following along; the best is yet to come!!