I arrived back in Ottawa in the early evening and drove directly to the university. I had arranged with Dragosani to meet there, but I had again miscalculated and I arrived later than I planned. The parking lot was empty and I searched the halls where he had taken me the previous weekend, but I couldn’t find him. Back then, cell phones were not something everyone had, and it was a luxury I couldn’t afford. Neither could D. So I sat in the parking lot, alone, and watched the rain blurring my windshield. All I could think of was the possibility of spending the weekend searching for him and just missing him every place I looked. I pounded the steering wheel with my frustration and my tears matched the rain as it streaked down the windows. I begged for a mightier intervention – to at least let me see him one last time. Please!
An hour passed and I took another chance and ran into the school and down the stairs to his locker area. Nothing. I searched in the labs that he had pointed out to me, but the rooms were empty. I ran back to the car, but he wasn’t standing beside it. I drove until I found a payphone and called his house, but his siblings had no idea where he might be. I drove slowly back to the parking lot and checked the school once more before giving up. Sliding behind the wheel I started my car and sat staring at the rain on the windshield. The parking lot lights were distorted through the wet glass and I rested my head on the steering wheel as I tried to decide if I should just keep going or get a hotel room for the night. I didn’t want to leave the area where he might be – in fact I didn’t even want to go back home again. I let the car idle so the defroster could clear the fog that was creeping across the glass and put my head back on the headrest while I waited.
When I opened my eyes I could see a figure walking up the road that led to the parking lot. I couldn’t make out who it was through the rain and the space that separated us, and I held my breath as the figure topped the hill and started across the parking lot. As the person drew closer, I could see a knapsack slung over the leather jacket with the university logo on it. I put the car into 1st and slowly drove forward, closing the distance. When he looked up and smiled, my heart leaped and my breath caught in my throat. I threw the passenger door open and he slid in, soaking wet.
I couldn’t get enough of the taste of his lips or the feel of his arms around me as we clung to each other. I laughed as the water dripped from his hair onto my nose and tickled it. Inside it felt like something detonated and I could feel a warm tingly sensation that spread through my body, touching every single organ and making it sing. Drawing back from him, I reached out and touched his face in wonder.
“Where were you?” I whispered, my voice hoarse from emotion.
“I went to get something to eat. I was so busy I hadn’t eaten today. I didn’t realize it was such a long walk or that I would be gone so long.”
“I was afraid I was going to miss you and never see you again.”
“I would never let that happen.” He folded me in his arms and it was a long time before we left the parking lot and found a hotel room once more.