I was reluctant to say goodbye to Sidney. I knew that our separation this time would be different. We weren't fighting, we weren't skirting around any issues, and we weren't not talking. We were good again; the way we were supposed to be.
But I couldn't help but be scared. I knew how much I cared about him now, and that frightened me. Scared the living shit out of me, really. It took losing him to make me see how much I needed him. During our previous fights, I was the one that had left in anger. First, when he took gave me a credit card and accused me of using him, and then when he didn't listen to me about Lynne. I was the one needing time and space to sort through what was going on in my head. But this time around, I thought he was the one finished with me. I was the one left waiting in the wings, feeling like my still-beating heart had been ripped out.
Falling in love, and then being in love, is a hard thing to learn to do at twenty-four. Maybe if I had had more practice in high school or something, I would have been able to go with the flow better. But that wasn't the case.
As I contemplated my circumstances, I wondered if this would get easier, eventually. If the longer we were together, the simpler it would become to say goodbye for days or weeks at a time. I bet if we could stop fighting every other time we got see each other, this would be easier.
I realized that there was no turning back. Now, I was in this for the long haul, ready and willing to do whatever it took to make it work with Sidney. Not because I wanted to or because hanging out with him was fun, but because I had to. It was essential for my happiness and my mental and emotional well-being. We didn't get to dip our toes in the water and test the temperature; we jumped into this cannonball-style, with no looking back. We were in over our heads, but in the best way possible.
This was the first time I cried when I had to leave. Every time we parted, I was sad and desperately wished that I could rewind the previous days and live them over again, but this was the first time I actually cried. Sid grabbed me and pulled me against his chest, where I fit so nicely. "Hey, what's all this about?"
"I'm sorry," I apologized with a quaking voice. "This time, it's just really hard. I mean, I'm excited for Thanksgiving, but I hate that I don't get to see you before then. I'm going to miss you."
He twirled his fingers around my hair. "Me, too. Why don't you come see me next weekend? We're playing down in Atlanta next Saturday. It could be a repeat of San José. Fly down for the game, hang out a little on Sunday?"
I pulled away and looked up at Sid. It sounded so nice, another weekend getaway, but I was reluctant to accept. "I thought you agreed to keep the presents to a minimum?"
"Well, this is why I'm asking you and not just telling you or surprising you with tickets. You know I want you there. I'd love for you to come down. The distance and the time apart is hard for me, too."
"Yeah, but you have road schedules and routines."
"That doesn't make it any less difficult. Sure, I have practices and flights and games, and I'm surrounded by the guys, but there's still a lot of time for me to think about you and miss you. And it's not like I get to sit back and think that you'll be waiting for me at home when the road trip is over."
"I come to see you when you're at home."
"Yeah, on the weekends. But you can't come to the home games when you have to work. It's not like you're waiting for me at home, like some of the other guys' girls are."
"Is that what you want?" I asked, trying to sound innocent but really being skeptical. I could never be that girl who could wait at home for her man. Sure, I cooked his pregame meal, but that was because I loved to cook. And I helped out around the house when needed, but that was because I was here so often on the weekends that it only made sense to take some of the responsibility. But I needed to work, to do something to feel productive and like I was contributing to society.
Sid laughed. "I know exactly what you're trying to do. No, it's not fair for me to ask that you be available when I want you to be, since I have so many previous commitments and demands on my time. I like that you're independent and patient, because that takes the pressure off me some when I can't be around for you. Even though, I will admit, it would be nice to have you here all the time."
I smiled at him and nestled back into his chest. Yes, it would be nice to be there all the time, so I could see him whenever he was in town. It sucked, only being able to see him on the weekends when he had home games.
He continued, "It could be that way. Maybe it's too early now, but when you're ready."
"Sidney Crosby, what are you getting at?" I stayed in my position, curled up against his chest so he wouldn't have to see my face.
"It's an open invitation, an open-door policy. I mean, you still have my key. Anytime you want to come over, you can. And if you wanted to take up permanent residence here, you could. I know what you're going to say, that it's really early on in our relationship. And maybe to you, it is. But my parents got married after only knowing each other for four months. So really, by those standards, we're taking it slow."
I couldn't help but laugh. "Four months? How are you supposed to know if you're meant to be with someone after sixteen weeks?"
Sid puckered his mouth, not liking my reaction. It probably wasn't a good idea to laugh when I heard his parents got hitched after four months. "If you know it, then you know. Why wait?"
"Because. Can you honestly know someone after four months?" This was it. He wrangled me into The Talk. I let out a deep sigh. "You know, just because you've been all take-charge, do-as-I-say today, doesn't mean you're going to make me talk about this. But, just so you know where I'm coming from, I think it's fair for you to know that I don't think you can truly know someone after a few months. I think that people should only get engaged after being together for a minimum of two years. And if you've been with someone for three, and you still don't know if you're ready to take that next step, then you'll never be ready."
"Wow. That's pretty specific. Two to three years? You've put a lot of thought into this."
"Well, I've had a lot of time to think about it. It just makes sense to me."
"But love isn't supposed to make sense."
I thought about all my experiences with Sid, and how very few of them involved rational thinking. He drove me crazy, he made me crazy, sometimes in good ways and sometimes in bad. And I was a thinker, a reasoner, which made being in love with him so hard, yet so rewarding. "You can't control how you feel, for sure, but I read somewhere that it takes a year and a half for the feelings of infatuation to dissipate. So you can't know if you really love someone until after that."
"Maybe you shouldn't believe everything you read."
That made me smile. All I did was read. "I can't believe that you would think it's okay to pop the question after a few months. Especially with being in the situation you are. How could you be so sure that the girl wasn't using you for your money or for who you are?"
"I like to think I'm a good judge of character."
"Really? And you still think that, even after Lynne fooled you?"
He frowned. "One time, one girl. She's the only one that pulled the wool over my eyes. I had to learn at an early age how to discern the good people from the bad seeds. But why are you complaining about it? I mean, I picked you." Sidney reached down and held my chin in place as he slowly brought his lips to mine. Just as soon as I was really getting into it, he pulled back. "What do you think about a family?"
"It's really too soon for me to think about it. I'm not sure how I feel about a family. Kids are nice, but I'm not sure if I want my own yet. I'm too young to need to have it all figured out." In all honesty, kids scared the living daylights out of me. I wasn't sure if I could be a good mother. Especially if it involved raising kids with a husband that traveled a lot, which would leave a lot of the burden of child-rearing on me.
"I thought girls planned this stuff out since they were five."
I laughed. "That's so sexist, Crosby. It depends. It depends on the guy, if he'd make a good hands-on dad, and the situation we're in. I mean, after all, it's not up to me. It's a decision that both of the potential parents need to make. But what's the big deal? You're young and you have the world at your feet. Plus, you're twenty-freakin'-two. You couldn't have put a lot of thought into this." When he didn't answer me, I blushed. "You have put a lot of thought into this."
"You think because I play hockey that that is where my only priority lies. Yes, the game is important to me. But only because I had the great support system of my family to encourage me and get me through it. Family's important to me. I want one, some day. You're right, I'm young, so I don't have to worry about it right now. But I know I want it in my future."
"Yeah? You want enough boys to make your own hockey team?"
"No," he laughed heartily. "Maybe a boy or two, who I can teach the game to. Do you think you can handle being a hockey mom?" He continued to laugh, as if picturing it in his head. "But I want a girl, too. A little princess."
I pulled back, ignored his question altogether, and came up with my own. "Yeah? And what if your little princess wanted to play hockey?"
Sid looked sheepish. "Then of course she would play. Hell, maybe she'd even become the first female NHL player. My skill and teaching, and your stubborn drive. She'd be able to do anything."
We laughed together, but a part of me was shocked by his statement. He wasn't just talking about the possibility of having a daughter, he was talking about our daughter, our future possible child. It was scary that he was thinking of our future and so scary that he was so comfortable thinking about it. I wasn't there yet. I wasn't ready to think about what time might have in store for us. Thanksgiving was looming on my calendar, and that was the furthest date I had in mind. Except that Trina was still planning on seeing me in Cole Harbour for Christmas.
"Okay, so now I know how you feel about that. Let's go back in time. Tell me about your old boyfriends."
"You can't be serious. What man in his right mind would want to hear about his girlfriend's past relationships?"
"I'm in love. I never said I was in my right mind," he chuckled. Sid made this whole discussion seem so easy, but I was freaking out internally. "It's a part of you. It's what made you who you are today. That's why it's important to me."
"But it is what it is. I mean, it's in the past. I don't want to know about the girls you've known and been with. Because it has nothing to do with us right now."
Sidney squeezed me. "You aren't the least bit curious?"
Now that he was dangling that tidbit of information in front of my face, I was a little curious. But I lied. "No. I don't want to know about them. As far as I'm concerned, there's a reason they aren't with you anymore, and there's a reason I'm with you now. I don't need to know about those reasons."
We kissed again and I pulled away, knowing I need to start the drive home. As I walked to my car, Sidney called after me. "You never gave me your answer."
"The game on Saturday. Do you want to come to Atlanta or not?"
I didn't need to think about it. "Yes!"
My Favorite Five (2015)
2 years ago