Julie’s last full day in Dallas was also coincidentally tax-free shopping day in Texas. It’s some sort of promotional thing to let parents buy new clothes and stuff for their children as they head back to school. I guess a lot of states do it now.
I took Julie to the two best malls in Dallas, the Galleria and then North Park. The Galleria is a set of twin towers, one of which is offices and condos. The other houses the mall, which I believe is four or five floors high, centered around an ice skating rink. I dutifully spent the rest of the day tagging along as Julie looked into various stores, purchasing tea from a pretty cool store called Teavana whose employees were active in letting us taste different teas and look at how beautiful the products were. In particular was this one that is sewn together and then, when submerged, blossoms out and looks like a flower inside the tea pot.
I required stops at McDonalds and Jamba Juice. Neiman Marcus supposedly had some Lalique pieces but we couldn’t find them. We did however see a men’s $750 shirt reduced on sale to only (gasp) $500.
I think the part I remember most was stopping outside the mall so Julie could grab a smoke. It was a secluded little exit area but it was freaking hot. I don’t know why I remember it except the lack of air conditioning was jarring and I couldn’t help but admire Julie as we chatted.
Once we got home, after dealing with malls packed full of people all day, my best friend back home from when we met in second grade, Slavek, called me up and we agreed to go eat at a sushi place. I am not a seafood eater but I actually did try some, since I like the taste of sticky rice with wasabi/soy sauce. After that, we went to Starbucks for a drink, then met up with Slavek downtown in Deep Ellum at a club his coworkers met at. One other coworker of his was performing that night and we caught the tail end of it. Slavek got pretty drunk and Julie and I did not stay too long since we had to get back. Julie had an early flight the next day and we had to prepare and get some sleep.
That night was the point of a trip when you just sort of mope a little. She packed up her clothes while I watched and it felt like the traumatic end to an era. In reality it was a blissful week spent together, where nothing else in the world mattered except us. In that way it was like our meeting in NYC, when we both had nothing to do except focus on each other. I cherish those times because work and life and responsibilities often get in the way.
The next morning was somber but we tried to keep it light. Julie and I didn’t say too much about it because she didn’t want to get all sad. We took our last drive to the airport and I walked with her from the ticket aisle to the security gate. We sat and said our goodbyes for a little bit before she went inside. I waved to her as she went through security, and I walked over and saw her sit down through the glass partitions. Then I went home.
It was delightful showing Julie how I grew up, and having her meet my parents, and just getting to spend a lot of time talking to her and sharing more experiences with her. As she writes in her own journal, it’s those normal day-to-day things that she enjoys most and that other couples take for granted, since we don’t get to live together very often right now.
For me it’s the unity of purpose and experience, along with the lack of distractions. Sharing day-to-day things to me is pleasant, but unusual, since I’ve never really been a day-to-day person with anyone I’ve dated or been in love with (not that many people). I enjoy it a lot but like I said, the shared focus is the part I appreciate the most, talking about things from the same shared experiences and comparing our opinions on them.
It was probably the best leave I’ve ever been on. I felt relaxed and refreshed afterwards, and felt like I’d done something important, a feeling I don’t always get. Most of all I felt closer to Julie now that she knew more about me — she sometimes feels as though I keep her out of some compartments in my life. Any chance I can get to show her more of myself is great for us both.
I’m glad you came, Julie. I love you, my sweetie. My wigglebutt. =)
(Julie covers a lot more of the details in her blog entries.)