I Need a Tissue, and Other Mysterious Codes

When we first fell in love, we used to have a code for “I love you.”
You know, so our parents (okay, my parents) wouldn’t hear us (okay, me) on the phone professing love at age 14.

“I need a tissue.” One of us would say and maybe the other would respond with, “That is so weird. I need a tissue TOO!”

We were so sneaky. (I mean you obviously got sneakier later…)

That was so long ago though, that when you used to say “Love you, Meinks*! I just believed you were your same old self, saying “love you” to our friends — their whole family. I didn’t realize it was a code for “I love you, Heather,” hidden in plain sight!

One night it started to snow while we were at Heather’s house.
It may have been that time we went to watch The Color Purple Broadway Musical on their TV. Or, maybe it was just a get together after the kids’ rehearsal. I can’t be sure but I do know it was snowing because Heather ran outside to dance in the snow.

Another one of Heather and Stephen’s students was there too – I was worried about him getting home safely in the snow.

It might have been the night Kitty was there, with her fiancé and their new kitten in a see through backpack. I don’t know if this was before or after you and Heather had started planning Kitty’s secret fling with her married ex-boyfriend.

(Perhaps I should start a color-coded timeline.)

The snow was getting heavier.

There were jokes made about us all sleeping over. (In retrospect, you looked pretty hopeful about that plan.)

I reminded you of the dog waiting for us at home, and we followed their other student out the door and through the snow-covered streets, making sure he got home safely. This was ironic of course, because he got home safely and we were stuck on the road, tires spinning, a couple of minutes from our house.

It’s not winter yet this year, but just the other day when I drove down that street, I remembered your call to Heather, her worried voice, her offer to come help us, and the way you ended the call with a code I didn’t know.

“I love you, Meinks!”

*Obviously Meink is not Heather’s real last name!

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