I have never been the type of person who laments the passing of any season. But Labor Day weekend has always been an emotionally significant time of year for me. The duality of emotions that arise from this weekend range from a feeling of sorrow as it marks the end of my vacation, along with an air of excitement as it marks the beginning of the countdown to being able to see you and spend time with you again. While everyone rejoices over the ability to take a long weekend, mine is spent thinking about how quick my daily routine will change. Those long drives along the coast, early mornings spent tending my yard, lazy days lounging by the pool, and evenings surrounded by friends and family who are left abandoned by me for far too long throughout the year, will soon be over. Yet at the same time, a fire starts to kindle deep inside of me, sending an electrical surge through my body that has built up over the month from not being able to be with you. As that long weekend draws to a close, I know that it is only a matter of time before I get to satisfy that long yearning to see you again. The month of going without your touch, making do without our long talks over dinner, recalling the hours spent with you talking about everything and nothing, and the dreaming of the many quiet moments in each other’s arms, will soon move from my dreams into my real world. The waiting to hear that first knock on the door, the experience of the first embrace, is what I long for during my long month without you…

This year however, Destiny chose a slightly different path for me. I guess she figured that she was bored with bringing doom and gloom to other peoples’ lives, and thought it would be fun to turn mine upside down instead, thus making me a vehicle of amusement for her very own scripted reality show. My East Coast tour in July was cancelled due to a family emergency. Before I drag you through this episode of Destiny’s own version of “Survivor”, I would first like to thank you for showing your care and concern for me during that time. I know that the days of cancelled appointments, no answer on the phone, full mailboxes, and no response about what was happening was troubling and worrisome, but yet you stuck by me, trusting that the explanation will soon follow.

To make a very long story short (well, as briefly as I can anyway), I invited one of my best friends with me on tour this time. She had heard so much about my trips to the East Coast that she wanted to experience it for herself. Her days were planned. Smithsonians by day, people watching in Dupont Circle by night. Delving into the pain of the holocaust and delight in watching a Panda pass her day. Long treks from Central Park, through the Garment district, all the way to down to Chinatown, where peddlers of imitation designer goods would bring her through a hidden underground and above ground maze to where they would expose their loot to the wide eyed tourist. Then it was off to be awed by the talent on Broadway, followed by taking in the hustle and bustle of Times Square. This would all culminate at the “birthplace of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” She was to embark on an exploration into American Democracy. Discovering how the home to the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall could exist alongside the excitement of a 21st century city. She was excited to see how cobblestone streets and centuries old homes masked the sizzle of activity at night. Well, that was how it was going to be. (Big Sigh)

Two days after we arrived in DC, my friend was admitted into the ER with tachycardia. I must say that years of hearing stories and watching TV shows about emergency rooms never really prepare you for it till you experience it for yourself. It was one of my most harrowing experiences. The doctors spent hours trying to figure out what was causing the problem. As the afternoon turned to night, they decided that she was dehydrated (how she got dehydrated was beyond us, but since it came from the doctor, we accepted the diagnosis). We took it as good news, for as long as she got re-hydrated, we’d be on our merry way. Well, this “overnight re-hydration process” became an extended 8 night “vacation” in the hospital. The doctors kept testing her heart as her blood pressure and pulse were having a hard time stabilizing, regardless of how much fluids they had already pumped into her. Days of tests only proved that she was as healthy as a horse. It wasn’t until a few days into this process that they discovered (on a fluke) that it was her thyroid. (Happy news!) Once again, it should have been a simple thing, put her on medication and we’d be on our way. But as Destiny would have it, it just wasn’t meant to be. Afterall, per “Survivor” rules, we had not “won immunity” yet. After her discharge from the hospital, her body was going through a hard time regulating, her internal thermostat made it hard for her to regulate her body temperature, and food was not sitting very well in her either. So we stayed on a couple more days just to make sure that she’d make it on the plane back to California where she could be at home and monitored better. Despite how much I wanted to spend time with you, I could not in good conscience leave her in the hospital by herself, in a city where she had never been to with no friends or family around her. My cancellation of my tour and departure back to California was necessary to make sure that she was okay.

I guess this was not exactly the vacation that she had hoped for, nor one I had planned for her. But all of this reaffirmed my belief, that in this life, it is always so easy for us to cruise along, and through the course of time grow complacent. We get comfortable with the idea that we are infallible, the trust that there will always be a tomorrow, and the dream that there is all the time in the world to do all that we want to do. Instead of dwelling on the downside of the slight kink in my original grandiose summer plans, I figured that I should just take it all as a sign that I should just go ahead and take the vacation earlier. It’s amazing how we see life through different lenses depending on what experiences touch us. This whole episode made me realize how precious my time with you is, how much I treasure each and every moment when you are near, how I hang onto the memories that we make when we are together, and how grateful I am that I have you as a part of my life. I have always walked away with you in my head and felt you in my heart, and you have always left me with a sense of anticipation for our next meeting. I have not ever understood why I felt that way, but I do now, thanks to one of my best friends in the world. It was through her ordeal that I benefited, because it made me finally understand why I have always felt so comfortable with you, why I long to see you again after you have left, and why you never fail to leave such an indelible imprint upon my heart.

It’s the little things that you have done that really matters the most. That seemingly unimportant “how are you” phone call, the out of the blue “just thinking of you” email, the occasional “I’m just missing you” note, the “for no special occasion” bouquet of flowers”, the “thank you for your time” box of chocolates, the “let’s just catch up” dinner, the “wanted you to know you were special” gift, and all the little for “no special reasons” things that you do, are all part of the “little things” that make for the most important things in the world. So I took my vacation early, managed to spend time with my friends and family, tended to my garden, took in those lazy days without feeling guilty, and most of all, allowed myself really miss you!