Graduation had passed and before I knew it, it was time to get ready to move out to Chicago. Laura took an internship offer with the Blackhawks training staff, so needlessly to say, I was excited that she was moving too. Jon and I talked everyday on the phone, over text and also on Skype, and thank god for Skype because I think it made it a little easier to see him while we were talking. It seems hard to imagine we would get into any arguments being so far away from each other; but when the Ducks knocked the Blackhawks out of the playoffs, it was a little more difficult to handle and it caused a few little fights, but nothing we couldn’t get though and in a way it made things stronger.
It was the week of my graduation/going away party, and also my last night working at Red Robin. I was talking to my manager about things out in Chicago when the hostess tells me I had a phone call.
“Wow, way to answer your text messages” Laura says
“Oh, sorry I was talking to my manager,” I tell her
“Ok, I just wanted to make sure your still at work, I have a surprise for you and I am going to bring it to you.”
“A surprise, eh?”
“Yeah, I’ll be up there in 15 minutes” she says
“Ok, see you soon” and hung up
I talk to my manager again when my phone goes off, it’s a text from Laura and it simply says that there is something on my car…I take off right away to look, because I haven’t even had it for a week. As I’m walking out to the side door, I see someone standing next to my car…
Oh. My. Gosh. I’m thinking as I get to the door to see that the person is Jon. I run out to my car as he holds a bouquet of roses and his arms out for a hug.
“Surprise!” He says with a kiss
“I can’t believe this! I’m so excited to see you!” I tell him with a smile ear to ear
“So surprise” Laura says
“Wow dude how did you manage to keep a secret like this from me? You are like horrible at keeping secrets!” I tell her
“Ha! Yeah it was hard to do, I almost spilled when you asked me what I was doing earlier, I was going to the airport to pick him up,” She said
Laura decides to leave and Jon and I go inside to see if I can finish up at work. My manager didn’t believe me at first that I was dating Jon, so this really topped it off; he was shocked to see him walk into the restaurant. Him and Jon talked for a few minutes while I finished up and clocked out, then I called my mom to tell her I had a surprise for her and dad when I got home. Afterwards, I said some tearful good-byes to the friends and memories that I had been around for the last 5 years. Jon and I got in my car and headed home so he could meet my parents.
“I gotta hand it to you and Laura for being so secretive about you coming down here,” I told him
“Yeah it was so hard for me to keep quiet, I talked to Laura before I booked my flight and everything and made sure she could pick me up. I wanted to surprise you and I figured now would be perfect so then I could drive back to Chi with you” he said as he grabbed my hand and smiled.
“Aw, well I’m glad you decided to. But I hope you realize that my party is on Saturday and my entire family will be there, so you’ll be meeting them.” I tell him
“I think I can handle that”
“Ok, just making sure, so I’m apologizing in advance if they interrogate you with questions”
“It’s fine, people love me”
“Getting a little cocky, are we?”
“Yes, you, Mr. Toews”
“So are you going to show me around this little town of yours?”
“Yeah, there’s not much to see. I’ll show you my high school and UNM, um there’s the Zoo and Aquarium, but those are kinda boring. Maybe I can get some people together one night and we’ll go to Grahams, there’s the tram too.” I say as we pull up to my house.
“You ready to meet my parents?” I say while he gets his duffle bag out of the backseat.
“Hey!” I say walking towards them and about to introduce them when my dad stands up
“Hi, you must be Jonathan, I’m Tim” he says with his hand out for a shake
“Oh, call me Jon please and it’s nice to meet you Tim”, then my mom says hi
“Sorry about the loss, I should change the channel, you probably don’t want to see this,” my dad says
“Oh, no sir, it’s not a problem at all” Jon says as we all sit down
“So Jon, tell me about yourself”
We were all talking for a while with the game on in the background, so my dad kept bringing up hockey, which surprised me because I didn’t think Jon would want to talk about it, but he didn’t mind. After an hour or so, we all decided to go to bed.
“Jamie, are you going to show him around town while he’s here?” My dad asks
“Yeah, I figured we would do some of that tomorrow, go up to UNM and that area, who knows.”
“Since your bed is already in the U-Haul, and it’s just the air mattress in your room,” my mom starts saying
“You kids better behave” my dad cuts in
“Oh my god dad, chill” I respond
“I’ll sleep on the couch,” Jon says
“I must warn you, they aren’t very comfortable,”
“It will do, I'll respect any wishes or rules of the house”
“Well we appreciate that and if that makes you more comfortable, then knock yourself out,”
“Ok, well, Jon, I’m glad we finally met you, Jamie talked about you and the boys a lot, and never missed a Hawks game.” My dad says again
“Yeah, glad to meet you guys too, I was kind of nervous at first but Jamie talked about you guys a lot over spring break so, I think it made it easier” he said
“Ok, well goodnight guys, see you in the morning.” Mom said as we all went to our rooms.
I was still sleeping when I heard Jon come into my room, and then leave again. Such a morning person that boy is, I guess he went back to the couch because I didn’t hear him again until I woke up 2 hours later and found him in the living room.
“So, what’s on the agenda for today?” He asks as he sits in the bathroom watching me get ready
“Well, we can go up to the campus, I can show you around there, we can take a ride on the tram, I don’t know we can figure it out as we go”
“Ok,” he says
We eat breakfast with my parents and tell them we are going to drive around town so I can show Jon the sights, they decide to stay back and finish getting stuff ready for the party the next day.
“This is the house I’ve lived in my whole life. My sister and me grew up with a lot of different kids, but they all ended up moving away. One of the moms used to tell us to stay away from the ditch because the ditch witch would get us.” I say pointing to it
“The ditch witch?” Jon asks with a laugh
“Yeah, there was an old story that an old lady threw her kids into the ditch and they drowned, then she felt bad so she jumped in and drowned herself, so it scared us kids from playing in the ditch, otherwise she would get us”
We take a detour past my old high school before we park on the UNM campus and walk around, I showed him the student union building, where I spent most my time, also by the duck pond and some of the buildings; the last stop we did was the bookstore, I wanted to get him a UNM hat, even if he didn’t wear it, and one last shirt just to have. Next stop was going to be a ride up the Sandia Peak Tram, which is something New Mexico is known for and also the sunset on the mountains is the prettiest ever, that we will have to look at it tonight. We buy our tickets and get on the tram to go to the top of the mountains.
“Wow, this is amazing!” Jon says as we are overlooking the city
“I know, it’s especially pretty at night with all the city lights”
“I bet; do you come up here a lot?”
“Sometimes, it’s so peaceful up here, if I do, it’s to get away from everything for a while”
We hang out up there for a bit and take some pictures, then get back on the tram to go back down, we get back to my car when my phone rings,
“Hey Bailey! What’s up?”
“Nothing what are you doing?”
“Just leaving the tram with Jon”
“Jon…your boyfriend is here?”
“Yeah he surprised me last night and came into town and is going to drive back to Chicago with me next week”
“Oh! Well I would like to meet this boyfriend of yours, and Briar misses you!”
“Aww little B! Ok well what do you have planned for today?”
“Nothing really, have ya’ll eaten lunch yet?”
“Not since breakfast”
“Let’s go to lunch?”
“Ok, let me check with Jon,” so I tell him then get back with Bailey
“Ok, he said that’s cool, we weren’t going to do much of anything else today,”
“K, come to the house while I get B ready and we can decide where to go”
“Sounds good, see you soon”
Jon has heard about Bailey before, she’s been one of my best friends since we met, so he’s looking forward to meeting another best friend. I tell him a little more about her and her 2-1/2 year old daughter when we pull into her driveway.
“Hello???” I say as we walk into her house
“Aunt Jamie!” I turn to see Briar running towards me so I pick her up into a hug, and not far behind is Bailey, we say hi and I introduce her to Jon
“Dang James, you did good!” she says to me after she shakes Jon’s hand
“Thanks, I try” slightly blushing
“So where do you want to go, I’m starving” Bailey says
“I don’t care, wherever”
“I want Chinese,” she says
“How about P.F. Changs? Or Elephant Bar?” I suggest
“What’s Elephant Bar?” Jon asks
“It’s kind of like P.F. Changs but cheaper, and they have more then just Chinese food”
“Want to go there?” Bailey asks him
“Sure, wherever is good” he replies
“There we go then.”
Bailey gets things for Briar together; then we all pile into my car to go to eat. Bailey asks questions about Chicago and about my job before saying that she wants to come visit, and I agree with her, especially since she hadn’t been out there before. At the restaurant, we all get situated and continue talking.
“So have you gotten recognized out here yet?” Bailey asks him
“Not yet, but J tells me that hockey’s not big out here”
“Yeah, she wasn’t lying.” She says with a laugh
“It’s nice though, to go someplace and know that I can be a normal person, but people in Chicago are respectful of us and they aren’t really crazy”
“I bet, so are you excited to move out there?”
“Yeah, I really am, I think it will be a good experience for me, especially since I already have a job and an amazing boyfriend out there,”
“That always makes things easier!”
“Definitely, it might be hard to get used to but I think it will be fun”
“Yeah it will be, now I have an excuse to go out there!”
“Yeah for sure! We’ll go to games and stuff.”
“Where are you going to live?”
“With me,” Jon says as Bailey gives me a questioning look, but Jon continues
“I know from experience that it’s hard to find a place out there, so I offered to let her stay with me, and if she finds a place on her own, I’m not going to hold her hostage,”
“Yeah, so I’ll be staying with him, when I was looking at apartments out there the majority of what was available was 2 or 3 bedroom,”
“Oh ok, well Jonathan, I expect you take good care of my best friend here, because I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Yes ma’am, you have nothing to worry about” he says with a smile
“So I was thinking that we should go to Graham’s one night, as a last final going away thing, because tomorrow will be a lot of family.”
“Ok, well why don’t we go after your party?”
“That could work,”
“Cool, I’ll call some of the girls”
“Ok, I’ll tell Steph and Meghan.”
“Sounds good, do ya’ll have anymore plans today?”
“Not really” I say as we’re leaving the restaurant
“I was thinking about taking B to the Zoo, because Jay is out of town this week, so we switched his days for having her”
So we ended up spending the rest of the day at the Zoo. I had forgotten how much I missed coming here. It always seems to be more fun with a little kid around; Briar never gets tired of coming here and seeing the animals all over again.
After a long day and a tired toddler, we took Bailey and Briar back home and we headed back to my parents house. They were setting up tables and chairs in the back yard with some friends that had come into town, so Jon and I decided to pack up more stuff in my room. I turn on the radio as we start taping boxes together. Thankfully all the big furniture was already in there, so we just had little things to box up.