Because every time something reminds me of the time when I lived there, my chest aches.
I miss you, Austin.
I miss the friends I made there. I miss the guy for whom all food is Mexican. I miss the redhead with the unruly toddler who asked me, “did you smell my toot?” I miss the die-hard bargain shopper who loves all things lemon and tea. I miss the guy who showed me “too many colors!” I miss the kitchen ninja who made my hair become strands of many hues. I miss that lovely blonde girl who autographed my boobie. I miss the unruly, late-night-TC-eating, prankster. I miss she of the ripped skirt. I miss them all.
I miss hating, loving, and being challenged by my job. I miss my bosses, my employees, and my customers. (I also kind of don’t miss my bosses or my customers. There were moments, okay?) I miss late night floor changes that made me want to rip my face off, followed by late night drinking with co-workers, where I generally laughed what was left of my face off. I miss being late to work, because it meant I had a schedule. I miss being a part of the outside world.
I miss Pastor Jeff and his Hawaiian shirts. I miss how he looks kind of like Phil Jackson, but in a cuddly, teddy bear way. I miss being a greeter at church and holding the door for people. I miss the feeling of being in the place where I was baptised.
I miss our large dog in the backyard who used to chew pieces of our house off when he got bored. I miss the way he was over 100lbs, but The Mexican, at 5lbs, was in charge of him. Because he was a gentle giant. I miss how when we first got them both as puppies, they drove me crazy until I thought I would rip all my hair from my head. I miss the way they used to play together and bring me endless joy.
I miss giggling like a school girl, but then kind of throwing up in my mouth a little, as we passed by Hippie Hollow on our way to other spots along Lake Travis. I miss playing at the lake all day and then sipping a margarita on the deck of The Oasis. I miss feeling sun drunk and heady, sitting on that deck, set into the side of the cliff, as I stared into John’s eyes while the sun set over the water right below us. I miss the way they used to ring the bell right at the moment the sun slipped below the horizon, and how everyone in the whole place clapped.
I miss celebrating the sunset with strangers.
I miss living in the house we owned together… young, careless, stupid. I miss late-night partying and reckless behavior. I miss deciding to sleep until noon, just because it felt so cuddly in his embrace. I miss going out just for doughnuts at 2am if we felt like it. I miss taking my youth for granted. I miss being carefree.
I miss my garden. I miss being able to dig up whatever part of the yard I damn well pleased and plant anything my heart desired there. I miss the lime tree I planted just so that I’d never have a Corona in my hands that lacked a lime. I miss living where a lime tree would actually thrive.
I miss Taco Cabana. Whataburger. Kerbey Lane. CHUYS. (I would kill a man with my bare hands right now for that creamy jalapeno dip.)
I miss this guy quite a lot:
I miss bare-foot weather 361 days of the year and more blue skies with puffy clouds than you can dream.
I miss the way you look, the way you feel, and who I was when I was with you, Austin.
I could go on, but what’s the point, really?
I miss you, Austin.
I wonder if you miss me.
First, this happened.
Fast-forward two and a half years… quite a lot happened during that time, and I’m sure I’ll find the time to tell many stories about those two and a half years, but today I’m telling you about the day I said, “I Do.” So just insert lots of courting, romance, too much drinking, and just enough laughter and silliness.
I’ve never wanted a big ring, a big dress, or a big wedding. It’s fine if those were/are your dreams – we are all different, and that’s what makes life interesting. For me, all of those things were just never part of my fantasy about what would make me happy.
In fact, the idea of a big wedding really just made me want to throw up in my mouth a little. No, scratch that… it made me want to Monster Hurl.
As it happened, I was not to be disappointed, and the match between John and myself extended to the lack of desire for pomp and circumstance.
We looked around in our area for awhile, and decided on a lovely park, which was described as one of the most isolated and untouched parks in Travis County, and it did not disappoint. With 2 miles of shoreline along beautiful Lake Travis, we knew when we saw it the first time that it was where we’d come the day we wanted to unite.
How laid back was our wedding? Just to give you an idea… my dress, purchased from Goodwill, was $7.99 plus tax. The dress shoes John wore that day cost more than my wedding dress. 😉 The bouquet? I made it the morning of our wedding from some flowers I picked up at the HEB grocery store right by our house, tied with some craft ribbon I had. I matched it to the flowers on my dress.
We told our pastor to please dress casually – he did not disappoint, and wore one of his signature Hawaiian shirts for the occasion (I could not love him more for that). We told him, and our two witnesses (Elaine, a woman who helped me prepare for my baptism the previous year, and Joan, our pre-marital counselor) to meet us at the entrance to the park on Sunday, March 28, 2004.
When everyone was present, we all loaded up into John’s truck and headed in. At $8 per vehicle, it was a pretty cheap rate for our Wedding Site. 😉
Once inside, we made our way to the spot we had previously chosen, right along the banks of Lake Travis.
One problem. The forecast was for rain, and it was clouding and graying up rather nicely. The clouds above us were ugly and threatening, and we were anxious and nervous.
Our Pastor took his place, and, with our witnesses behind us, we stepped up to him.
He began the service.
Suddenly, like some crazy fairy-tale, the clouds directly above us shifted and opened up, revealing a section of blue sky and the sun, which shone down upon us, pushing against the clouds still bordering.
As that light and warmth hit us, I knew again that my heart had found the right place to live.
I will never forget that day and the promises I made. The way I felt and how hard it was for both of us just to speak our vows without crying like blubbering idiots.
Or how badly my highlights had grown out and that my hair was only a little bit longer than John’s.
Or how beautiful the man at my side was, inside and out.
And how, even when the sun isn’t shining on us, he is still where I want my heart to live.