It’s been a few days since I wrote last. On Wednesday I felt like an emotional wreck–a feeling that had been building up for days since parting ways with my boyfriend. But it wasn’t just emotions at play, you see, and when I realized what else was going on, things took a drastic change in direction.
It turns out the last week I’ve been fighting off a virus, and as it multiplied in my body and started to slowly take over back on Monday and Tuesday, I mistook all the physical symptoms for further evidence of my emotional fracturing. Surely my inability to focus was caused by my constant thinking of the man I love and all the special moments we shared–a fever certainly wasn’t to blame. Surely my disorientation was my reasoning and rational thought unraveling at the seams–dehydration was certainly not to blame.
But it turns out it was, and once I realized what was happening physically, I was finally able to take some time to take care of myself–nurturing my body with rest and fluids and all the fever medications I could take without risk of overdose.
As the drugs (and I’m including water among them–that precious H2O is such a beautiful chemical compound, after all) permeated my system and brought clarity to my mind, I found my feelings were beginning to fall into a steady appreciation for all the blessings I daily live with–my peers, my privilege, my potential.
For now I might not be able to wake up beside the man I love or end the day in his arms, but I’m constantly surrounded by people I love and people who love me–people who have had no shortage of support to lend me through some of my most trying days. I have the opportunity to attend an amazing university, conduct my own research, and take interesting classes this summer from the comfort of my home. And I have so many chances to experience new things, new people, and new possibilities as all these blessings come to fruition, one day at a time.
But perhaps, all these comforts aside, what helped me most was a walk in the dark.
I love myself a nice walk at night, and last Wednesday night I was told there’d be a meteor shower (turns out, as I found out later, it had peaked early on Monday night, so I missed it). Regardless, I had invited a few friends to join me, and so–fever or not–I walked across campus to the Court of Carolina and there…found no one. It was the last day of classes, people had assignments, I hadn’t sent out any reminders–and with my mistaken dates, I was somewhat thankful no one had come out looking for falling stars and found them all fastened securely in the heavens above.
So, by my lovely lonesome, I planted myself in the grass and gazed skyward.
But who am I kidding? I’ve got a smartphone, so I checked Google (it’s how I learned the date was wrong) and then, against all my better judgment, I checked Facebook, too.
A few people had liked my blog post. A few people had commented on it, too.
The first response summed it up perfectly: Oh, honey… :(
But it was the second one that got to me.
My experienced heart would have advised you to avoid long-distance love, he began, and definitely avoid meeting him and having all those feelings validated in person by a real and actual chemistry that now dictates that you NEED to see him. But –here he gets a little hopeful– I know this is an experience one cannot be talked out of, and now the torture of time and distance will have its way. (Or not.) It’s gonna suck beyond belief! I’m both sorry for you and happy for you at the same time.
Suddenly my mind was reeling, and reeling as my mind do, it was going in more directions than seems physically possible. In one coordinate plane I was remembering all the times I had envisioned meeting my boyfriend–the perfectly coordinated outfit, the potential for tears or awkward words or unimaginable perfection–and then in another coordinate plane I was considering all those other moments I hadn’t really wanted to think about: those moments as we walked to my terminal, hand in hand, tears running down our faces; the Hollywood shading on our faces as the camera swivels in for a closeup, our eyes piercing one another; the sudden downpour from nowhere as we stand ready to part, our lips pressed so tightly into one another we could cause lightning by pulling apart.
Except that’s not how it happened. We were given the wrong directions to my terminal, we said our goodbyes in the bus as I eyed my watch in nervousness, each of us cooing, “We’ll make it, it’ll be okay” probably to comfort ourselves as much as each other. Then there was the long wait in line to get my boarding pass, terrified I might miss my flight, my heart racing so fast I couldn’t talk, could barely even see.
And then we were at security.
And then I was going through security.
And then I was at my terminal and on my plane and flying back home.
And since I tend to live in three-dimensional Euclidean space, along a third coordinate plane I was considering that Facebook comment–what would life be like if I hadn’t taken the biggest risk in my life and flown to Mexico? What would life be like I hadn’t taken the second biggest risk in my life and told him I was falling in love, that I wasn’t sure if we could survive the distance, but I wanted to try? What would life be like if I hadn’t joined a random Jewish dating website four years ago and talked with the pretty cute guy?
The sudden gasp that filled my lungs, threatening to collapse every capillary, that crushed my stomach and blazed through my brain, all the sudden sadness at the thought of never having shared all these wonderful moments–all the moments we’ve shared both at a distance and face-to-face, all this aching at the thought of never having loved this amazing man was more than I could bear, more than I could ever imagine being able to live through.
In that one moment, my eyes pressed to the skies, Mars to my right and Ursa Major somewhere above me to the left, all this open space just spreading out as I tried to catch my breath and fill my lungs with air again–in that one moment I realized all the sadness I thought I felt being apart could never compare to the emptiness I would have in my life if I had never allowed this precious person into my life.
The next few months will be tough, and I have no doubt some days I will wish for nothing more than to be reunited with my love, but until then, I know this sadness is only a small scratch upon all the love I feel for him–all the love I share with him. It’s hard to explain, but it seems now that I’m back, now that we’ve met, my love for him only seems to grow with every passing day–our texting has become more profound, more pronounced, I read his replies in the sound of his voice. It’s amazing. It’s better than perfect.
And it’s definitely worth the wait.