I had a long, emotional day yesterday (on a Monday, of course). I was rear-ended recently and needed to take my car in for an estimate which ate up my whole morning and forced me to stay late at work. Work was mostly uneventful and uninteresting. Work was like the beginning of the Wizard of Oz. It was black and white Kansas. It was Dorothy wishing she could travel to a place somewhere beyond the rainbow (though she succeeds in this pipe dream). It was me clicking my heels and saying, “There’s no place like home” except nothing happened and I was still in Oz. When I left for home, I hit every red light. I was caught behind a convoy of commuters. It took me over two hours to get home and by the time I did, I was hungry and sweaty and stiff. And then he called me.
It’s hard to see the value of ‘home’ before there’s someone to come ‘home’ to. I have tremendous adversity towards my small town. And yet, it is so nice to just sit down and have dinner with my mother when I return. Even in Edmonton, things I’ve done ever year since I moved there – The Fringe Festival, for example – are staples in my life, signifiers of summer, reminders that where I came from might be less glamorous than where I am now, but that where I came from is worthwhile and irreplaceable in many, many ways.
Someone I knew who moved to Toronto told me once that home is where you can be with people you love. He loved Edmonton too, when all his friends were still there. But as those friends dwindled, moved on, moved back, moved forward, suddenly the city became an excitement-less wasteland and he moved to where people were, resulting in happiness. I did this too; I moved to this amazingly beautiful, vibrant city. I live a block away from Sunset Beach and whenever I run around Stanley Park I can’t believe a microcosm that beautiful is in my own backyard. I have just started to settle and I have just started to make friends and this past two years has been the realizing of an adult life-wide dream accomplished. It was everything I’d hoped for; adventure and newness and beauty and advancing my education. Everything. But it doesn’t have him anymore. He’s not here and when he’s not here, my heart is also an absentee, a displaced Vancouverite caught between a life it loves and a man it loves.
I miss him. I miss everything about him and I miss when who I loved and the life I loved where perfectly merged together. I miss waking up beside him whenever I wanted and driving him in the mornings and getting coffee together and being among only too few Oilers fans in this place. I miss watching TV and movies with him and his roommates, and board game nights and even being his designated driver. I miss road trips and laughter and dinners out and sitting under a tree by the beach watching the fireworks festival. I miss all these things so much and I had them and now I don’t, and it’s been an adjustment.
Long distance relationships are hard. They’re easy when you have mutual trust and a strong foundation and you don’t run out of things to talk about and you can still cling helplessly to each other’s voices. But it’s still hard. Human touch is a huge part of human connection and once it’s gone, your hands and mouth and body crave that alleviation of aloneness. My soul aches to be held, so much so that I look for ludicrous solutions like impromptu unplanned trips back home to revitalize myself and move away from this metropolis where I have been trapped for nearly two years and scarcely left, save for that lovely trip to Maui last Christmas. ‘Trapped’ is an ugly word. Sometimes it describes life and sometimes it doesn’t. Yesterday and today it does. I love looking out on the water and it reminds me how free I really am and how much I have accomplished since coming to this place. But something I did was meet the person I’m in love with. And now he’s not here.
Even in the couple of months since we have started our long distance relationship, I have learned a lot. I have learned not to take someone’s mere presence for granted, and I have learned that strong connections are not forgotten. do not fade away, and do not burst like a taut balloon. They maintain a calm, lovely flow and stasis that is even even and consistent during the times you are apart. That serenity is not wild lust, it is love. Real love. And I know for certain I have that. I have also learned how missing someone evokes a mixture of fond and pained emotions. Following yesterday’s phone call I was sad, and frustrated, and missed him so much I felt even more grounded and flightless and stuck. But then this morning, recalling a good lengthy talk, I was filled with joy that I have someone in my life who understands me and who I can confide in and share so much with even just over the phone. I have learned that dreams are dreams until they change. And even to make a large move toward accomplishing dreams can lead you to more dreams, more open doors, more experiences that allow you to be open-hearted. Rather than looking at this as the end of the dream, I should look at this sadness, this tear, this conundrum, as the beginning of a new dream. Changes in life bring about new dreams. We move towards fixing what is fixable.
I am empowered by something that has devastated me and forced me to re-evaluate everything I knew. I love that, and I hate that, but it brings me only comfort and hope. And I need both now more than ever.