From that beginning, emails and phone calls flew back and forth across the country daily. However, for anyone who has never been in a long-distance relationship – it is incredibly hard to endure. For those moments when you are lonely and need to feel those special arms around you – you can only close your eyes and wrap yourself tight. At night, when you crawl into bed and want to snuggle – there is only the pillow. When you need a kiss – there is nothing. When you need another opinion – there is a phone bill at the end of it all. When all you do is yearn and ache for even the simple touch of a fingertip – you must imagine and dream.
This time though, we were determined to get through the time and the distance, no matter how hard it was. With another two years of school still ahead after the end of this school year – the task was daunting. Every email that came I printed out at the store and took it home with me to read again. I stayed at the store late again so I could chat with D when he got out of classes and was done his labs. I pushed my loneliness to the back of my mind and reveled in his affirmations of love. Where I was weak, his strength buoyed me up and got me through another 24 hours.
One evening I returned to the store to be able to get online and chat with him. What I found was a staff member going through my emails. I had not put a lock on anything as most of the staff didn’t know how to use a computer. The look on her face made it clear she had not only read everything there was to read, but that she was also afraid I was going to fire her. I went and sat at my desk for a while and thought about what I should do. In the end I laughed and hoped that she had enjoyed herself and let it go. When I found D later in our chat room, I made sure he taught me how to block prying eyes and minds from what was ours.
One day as I sat at my desk, the fax machine kicked into action and spewed out some paper that had an attention to me on it. Picking up the paper I could see that a copy of an airline ticket was printed on it. Looking closely I could read D’s arrival time in Calgary and my mouth fell open. When I finally got him on the phone I squealed like a little girl when he confirmed that he was coming. Yet I was stunned. University students don’t have extra money to spend on flights across the country – yet he had done just that to prove how he felt about me.
Standing at the gate I watched the people stream into the airport as they disembarked from their flight. I searched every face, trying to remember what he looked like and wondering if he would know me as well. When a tall stranger strode through the door, I gasped. Was this him? He had lost a considerable amount of weight and his hair was long and curly and pulled into a ponytail. He was taller than I remembered and his eyes searched over the crowd, but I had taken a position behind a pillar so he wouldn’t see me before I saw him. When he walked past I slipped in beside him and asked if he needed a ride. When his arm came around me – I knew I had the right guy.
I would love to tell you that those first moments turned into eternal bliss, but that isn’t the way it happened at all. In fact, the first two days were strained as we tried to work our way through the interruptions to our relationship. My guilt was almost overwhelming and yet I was angry that he had then gone on in his life and met Shadow Dancer. I didn’t make sense, even to me, but it took me more than 48 hours to realize it. On the third day I awoke and looked in the mirror and made the discovery that I was an idiot. D was only here for 7 days and I had already wasted 2 of them with unwarranted jealousy. I had been keeping him at arms length so I wouldn’t be hurt one more time. Yet all I wanted to do was give in and be with him. I felt like a fool.
D had not complained when I refused his advances, but was happy to just wrap his arms around me and watch me sleep. On that third day he told me if this was all that our relationship was going to be – then he would be happy with it – as long as he could just be with me. Turning from the mirror I threw myself into his arms and covered him with kisses. We spent the next 5 days lost in each other and oblivious to the real world. It was there – I still had to go to work during the day – but we were so caught up in each other that we hardly noticed.
At the end of 7 days of the best life I had ever lived – taking him to the airport then almost did me in. Standing at the gate with my head pressed against his chest and his arms wrapped around me for one last time – I tried to absorb his essence into my body. I knew he couldn’t stay and all I wanted to do was beg – but I didn’t. The top of my head was wet where his tears had landed as they rolled off his chin and disappeared into my hair. His shirt had a wet patch on it as he stepped away at the last moment to go through security and I could barely hear his words through my crying -
“Please wait for me. I’ll be back. I promise you that.”