I felt cheated; we were supposed to take our time saying goodbye.
That last hour was supposed to be ours to enjoy, but instead, it had been filled with the stressful scramble of trying to sort out an airline scheduling change. Somehow we both maintained our patience through the ordeal that in the end was still rather unresolved.
I was angry, angry with the airline, angry with the booking agent, angry at the universe for allowing those precious moments to be taken from us. The urge to cry out in frustration was strong and nagging, but I knew that wouldn’t help and would likely take up even more time and while it was foolish, I wished I could have made everyone understand how important that last little bit of time was and how it had been stolen.
We left the airline passenger service counter, the time had run out, and he needed to check his bag and go through security if he was going to make his flight. I felt my heartbeat in every step I took as we approached the security checkpoint at the international departures gate. “Let’s sit for a minute,” he said gesturing to the busy food court, we made our way through the tables in a daze finally settling on a small table in the centre of the action. As I lowered myself into the chair, I realized my body felt as if it were made out of lead, the weight of the world was on our shoulders at that moment and somehow time seemed to slow as he took my hands in his.
He leaned forward, and his forehead came to rest on mine, I felt a large tear fall from his eye and land on my wrist in a splash. The pain was mutual and in a strange way it brought me some comfort. There were very few words exchanged as we sat, but the words weren’t necessary. We were both thinking and feeling the same thing, between laboured breaths the words that did escape our lips were fragmented by the cracking of voices and the flood of heartbreak we were attempting to control.
It occurred to me that the buzz of noise from the food court had quieted and that we were being watched attentively by those around us. Nights and days could have passed as we sat holding each other across the table and neither of us would have cared.
If we could have stayed there lost in that moment, we would have. “Okay,” he said squeezing my hand, and I knew it was time. We stood, and he pulled me close to him and kissed me, our tears were flowing freely as we held on to each other with a grip that would lead those watching to believe we would have to be physically pried apart.
The embrace lingered, and it felt like a scene from a Hollywood film. Moments like this, pain like this, and blatant displays of affection didn’t really happen in public as we see in movies, but here we were creating our own little story and allowing it to play out in front of the crowd, and neither of us could have stopped it from happening if we’d tried.
I wasn’t sure who broke from the hug first but the next thing I knew we were walking to the security point and were seconds away from saying goodbye for what could be the last time we would be together in person. This might be the last time I kissed him, the last time he pulled me into his strong arms and held me in such a way that I knew he would never let anything bad happen to me.
I loved him in the purest form; it was simple yet powerful and effortless, if I could have dropped everything in my life and been impulsive and followed him I would have in a second, but the choices I’d made in the past made that impossible. There had to be a way to make this work, I thought, and I was willing to do whatever it took to make that happen.
Connections like this were rare and precious, and we were made for each other. How fortunate we were to have found one another and experience what we had, the depth, the sweet innocence of it was something that most would never find in a lifetime. While painful, I understood at that moment what a gift it was to love someone so unconditionally that it brought this much pain in saying goodbye.
Saying goodbye was going to be the easiest part I knew, even though it felt like utter agony at the time. I wasn’t blind to the fact that for this to work I needed to surrender and allow the universe to take control, I had to trust him, I had to practice patience, and above all, I had to love him fiercely from afar. It wasn’t going to be easy, though nothing worth having ever is, and it was going to be a long hard road preventing all we had from slipping through our fingers, but I knew in my most authentic self that I would wait a lifetime for him. He was worth every second of ache, he was worth every fleeting message in the months that followed as he became busy with work, and he was worth all of the time I would spend alone.
My mantra became ‘surrender, trust, patience, unconditional love,’ and I allowed it to run on repeat through my head constantly.
As I hiked through the forest to the highest peak where I’d sit and gaze over the hills above the lake, I’d think, “surrender, trust, patience, unconditional love.” In the quiet moments in my evening yoga class as I drifted into a zen-like state, “surrender, trust, patience, unconditional love.” When I missed him more than I thought I could bear, “surrender, trust, patience, unconditional love” the words found me and I knew exactly what I needed to do.
Love doesn’t discriminate; it is blind to colour, age, social status and, in this situation, distance. It is uncaring of complications and logistics, it just is. If you’re lucky enough to find it, often times, it is entirely out of your control, and all you can do is surrender, trust, have patience, and love unconditionally.
Perhaps this was what he was brought into my life to teach me; he’s created a kind of evolution in my soul.
One thing is for sure, to become invested in a long distance relationship you must bend and evolve in ways you never realized you could.
I suppose it’s possible that this will be the lesson, his purpose in my life, but I have to believe with all that I am that we are two unlikely souls that found home within one another and have the strength to weather the 15,000 km between us.
So for today and until I can fall into his arms again I will be grateful for what we have in all of its imperfection and allow time to take its course surrendering to wherever that may lead us in the future.