When I see people now... they have started opening up and telling me their John stories. I love them. even if they make me cry. which is why people sometimes keep them from me... because they don't want to see me get all worked up. but, it's going to happen one way or another. i get to hear stories from a different perspective. I find them all intriguing... peaking into the part of John's life i wasn't there to experience. (which was very rare. let's be honest)
Yesterday I stopped by the Waldorf to say hello. I found it harder to do than before. I think because I had a bad panic attack last time I was there my body wanted to avoid the situation completely. (this is what happens to people who get panic attacks. i.e.: if you have a panic attack in a train... you might never want to ride a train again thinking it will trigger it again.)
But, i went. i drove down the winding road of Bonnet Creek. The road I rode down many times with John in the cadillac. the first time we went was before the hotel was opened. John just found out he had been hired and we wanted to check it out. we got so far before a security guard turned us away. but he was so excited. he had FINALLY gotten a job. This had been such a long process and he had gone through a few "joke" jobs before he got this one. sales jobs. trying to sell direct TV in Best Buy or even better.... selling windshields at local gas stations. just a lot of stinker jobs. so, landing Waldorf.. .. was inspiring for him. He had big plans in his head. He honestly thought within a few years he could make his way to the top. And he was determined to do so. I supported him completely when he landed the job. Even though he was a bellman... it didn't last. They saw his determination and put him in a front desk position. A drummer. A guy with NO hospitality experience at all. He was working next to Hospitality majors and people working in the business for years. and that just shows his drive. and his passion for working for PEOPLE. how he connected with people. how they were drawn into him.
so, going to the waldorf... sends a wave of emotions and memories back my way.
and as I parked... er... got valet.... i started to get nervous. would people still remember me? would they want to talk to me? would they be too busy for me? would i remember everyone?
but of course... I was remembered and greeted with open arms. i talked to everyone at the front desk for awhile and of course i got the "how are you?" question out of the way first. my answer is still "ok." or even "fine" sometimes. I actually said "good" to someone the other day and regretted it. I felt like a big liar.
The girls and I went to peacock alley (a lounge) for a drink. I sat down and then BOOM. It was memory overload. All my John memories flooded my head. And the creepy feeling touched my skin and waved down my spine that he was gone. something that was beginning to numb. i can't possibly still be in the denial stage, can I?
Georgie (one of John's supervisors...) came down to sit with us. I had not seen her since John's passing because she was overseas right after his passing. She sat and chatted with us and shared her memories.
One of the memories she shared was when the family came for Christmas Eve dinner and John had to work (John worked EVERY holiday. i HATED it. I held a major grudge at the Waldorf for doing it too. He had to work on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years, Easter... and even on his birthday. ugh. i still get kind of mad thinking about it. like those are now missed memories. but. it's over now.)
So...Georgie's memory.. she said when we all walked in for Christmas Eve dinner John was behind the front desk. She mentioned how his eyes lit up when I walked through the door. I was wear a white and black dress with red high heels. (for Christmas, after all). He talked to Georgie about my shoes and how he couldn't get over that I was wearing them. Georgie's recall wasn't so good on what he said but she said he kept talking about them.
I was tearing up.
John took notice on what I was wearing.
When I had gotten dressed up for dinner that evening... i was dressing for him. i always dressed for him. I wanted him to notice me. to still think i was beautiful/sexy.... whatever made him love me (which he admits were my short shorts in college marching band and my bubble butt!)... and it worked. He noticed me and actually talked to someone about it.
i cried. and Georgie felt bad. the crying is going to happen no matter what. i'll take my chances. i want to hear all the stories i can get. i need to.
Then I got to see John's memory wall in person. It's great. It really is touching. I read all the notes on there that people left each other. I think I want to do an appreciation wall with my students next year in my band room. leave notes for the students and let them leave notes for each other. that way the older kids can encourage the younger ones/etc.
I cried some more leaving. I didn't drive. Waldorf may always bring back these feelings for me. But, like I said before... it's an exposure. THat i need to go through. that has to happen. and if I cry everytime... well, whatever. I am not going to lose contact with such nice, caring people who care a lot about John and a lot about me.
I have nothing planned out today. Which means it might be a job hunting kind of day for the girls. They are getting so frustrated already. It adds an extra sadness to my heart. to watch them struggle for jobs. i am so lucky to still have mine. i almost feel like i dont deserve after abandoning it the last weeks of school. which actually probably mentally was the best decision I ever made. wait. i dont even think i made the decision. it was made for me by others.
so, the girls need jobs. the job markets SUCKS. of course. i feel like people aren't making the same efforts they were before to try and help. and it may just be that I am becoming just as impatient as andrea and kelly are. i want security for all three of us. i want to feel like we have something settled and figured out. when i saw them coming out of the audition room for HHN i had an insane ammount of butterflies in my stomach. i wanted them to have jobs SO BAD. even a seasonal job for two months. something to lift their spirits and mine too. And so when they made it I was relieved.
then we auditioned for Disney yesterday. all of us got cut. downer. but, that's Disney. I wasn't expecting too much from them. and it's competitive... character stuff.
I just want to feel a small weight come off my shoulders. Here I am. the one with the job and I still feel like i am waiting to exhale. i am waiting for something to happen so we can take a step in a new direction. a small one. a baby step. and i can't promise i won't look back. because i will.