There has been a lot going on in my life, and in Alex‘s, since last I wrote. Some of the reason that I haven’t written is because a fair bit of the things that have happened haven’t been the most pleasant of subjects.
I’m not sure where, exactly, to start.
My heart’s been in pieces, it feels, ever since I came back. Naturally I miss Alex, but aside from that there’s been the issues with my mom. Her mental state is perplexing, to put it mildly. She is agitated, unhappy all the time. She can’t remember anything. There are physical issues, as well. No balance or coordination. It’s all just so confusing, and no doctor seems able to find a reason for it.
And then there’s the other thing. The one I don’t want to talk about so much, but that comes to mind every. single. day. The one that hurts at least as much as being separated from Alex again.
When something tragic happens to you, the people who love you usually rally around you, and try to comfort you, try to find the right things to say or do to help you through it, make you feel better. It’s just that sometimes there is nothing that will make you feel better, except perhaps, time.
And then of course there’s also the well-meaning things that people say that are meant to be helpful and comforting, but which only hurt more and make you sadder, or even angry. There have been more than a few well-meaning things said to me that only served to hurt and anger me in the past months.
I need time. I guess.
First, let me state for the record that I owe the poor ticket agent for the Heathrow Express an apology. Their fares changed between the last time Alex had used their services, so he in fact, did not overcharge me.
Second, I wish I was still in Cornwall. Obviously it’s primarily because I wish I was still with Alex, but there’s also the beauty and charm of the place itself that I miss. It might be easier to overlook those things when it’s your every day, but I think it’s something I’ll never take for granted.
The trip back, though. Oh, let me tell you about the trip back…
Alex saw me off at the St. Erth train station, where I caught the sleeper to Paddington. It was the hardest thing to get on that train and watch Alex waving goodbye from the platform. Thinking about it right now even makes me cry, but I had a face full of tears and snot as the train pulled away. Not a pretty sight, I’m sure, and people who were already on the train gave me such looks. Sympathetic looks, to be sure, but it’s still not particularly fun to be sort of just stared at. The trip to Paddington was largely uneventful, though, aside from my heart breaking into millions of tiny pieces.
I was disappointed to know that I didn’t have to go through customs to exit, as I desperately wanted to encounter the same grumpy early-morning agent and be slightly smug about the fact that I had not been a drain on England’s economy in any way, having not worked a bit and only spending money, and that I was leaving as promised. Of course, it might be a bit of a blessing, though, as I was still crying by that time (you’d think a person would run out of tears) and she’d probably have just asked me what that was all about.
I boarded the plane at Heathrow on time, where we then sat for two hours because the right engine wouldn’t start. Yes, that’s such a reassuring thing to have happen when you get on a giant tube that’s going to shoot you 36,000 feet into the air and carry you over the Atlantic. However, it turned out – after two hours of just sitting – that the engine would in fact start just fine, as long as it was started “manually”, and we were deemed safe to fly, as long as someone filled out some paperwork about it.
My connecting flight at Chicago was meant to be caught after a layover of only nearly three hours, though, so when you factor in the time for everyone to collect their bags, get off the plane, and the time it would take to get to another gate, I knew before take-off that I wasn’t going to catch my connection. I wasn’t a happy camper. I left St. Erth just before 10 pm, arrived at Heathrow just before 6 am, for a flight that was due to take off at just before 9 am (but didn’t). You can imagine by this time I was tired and cranky.
You know what, though? For all the little complaints I have about the travel time, having the back of my seat kicked over and over by small children (on every single flight), and all of it, I had the best three months of my life. All I want now is to turn around and go right back.
… oh, there’s photos. And many more stories. Give me time.
Hello. It’s me. Or that is to say, it’s you. An older, hopefully slightly wiser you. Me.
I want to talk to you about a few things that, from this end, are still on the horizon for you.
You’ve just had your heart broken by someone that you had put all of your time, energy, faith, and hope into. He let you down, and left you when you needed someone the most.
Be patient. It’s true what they say about good things coming to those who wait.
It’s okay that you feel heartbroken. You’re allowed. I promise you, though, that it won’t always be that way. Soon, very soon, someone is going to come along who will help you understand why the relationship you’re lamenting the end of just didn’t work out.
It wasn’t meant to be.
There is something, someone, so much better for you about to come along. I promise.
He won’t live anywhere near you. In fact, he’ll be 4,132 miles away, and there will be times that the distance is so hard. Don’t give up.
You will get scared. You will because you will love him so much. You will worry that he won’t be able to handle the miles that separate you. You will worry that he will find someone nearby to take your place in his heart. You will lie awake at night and obsess over all the things that might happen, all the ways in which you might not be enough for him.
I wish you wouldn’t. And he will wish you wouldn’t, too.
Be brave. Be confident. When he tells you that he loves you, take him at his word, because as you will eventually see, he will never give you reason to doubt.
Don’t let jealousy or fear get the better of you. Understand that in his eyes, there is nothing and no one who could ever take your place. Nothing and no one who is “better” than you.
Take notice of how much you love him and how happy he makes you, and never take those things for granted. Never take it for granted that he knows how you think or feel about him, either. It may not seem like it, but he gets scared, too. Take the time to remind him, often, how much you love and appreciate him.
You will argue sometimes. It happens to all couples. Understand that in the same way that you still love him when you are upset and frustrated, he loves you, too. Don’t assume that he is going to give up on you because of an argument. Or two. Or ten. Don’t hold him accountable for the way you’ve been treated by others. Don’t think that he will be just the same, because he is not.
Cherish every bit of time that you get to spend together. The time zone difference between the two of you will be hell. Six hours difference means that you will only get a few hours in any given day, particularly weekdays. Make the most of your time together.
Mostly, though, be brave. This one, he’s The One. The one that you’re going to spend forever with. The one who is going to work just as hard as you will, right by your side, to make it work.
Remember that love is not just a thing that you feel, but something that you do. Keep falling in love with him every day. You will see, by his words and his actions, that he does the same for you.
I should be doing the laundry and at least starting to pack. Instead, I’m here expounding upon my own personal list of things to be happy about. And waiting for Alex‘s lunch hour, because I’m really missing the sound of his voice. The laundry and the packing will wait… though not for long.
Technically I should be farther along than week four, but I’m nothing if not inconsistent.
Having quite the busy week, so haven’t had a lot of time for blogging, sadly. Hopefully things are slowing down a bit.
I wanted to keep up with my silly little Friday post, though, so, here’s a few more things that make me really happy.
Once upon a time, I was a clerk in a porn store.
For the most part, it was a pretty fun job. I found that I had to have a sense of humour, and that I couldn’t really afford to be embarrassed by anything. You’d be surprised what people will come in and ask you. Or maybe you wouldn’t.
The best was when men would approach the counter seeking my advice on what to purchase for their partners. “How’s the vibration on this one”? “Does this stuff feel good”? “Would you recommend this”? As if I’d personally sampled every product on our shelves, or that doing so was just part of my job description. There were a few things in the shop I could make an informed comment on, and if I could, I would, but for the most part, I’ve never felt a need for massive vibrators, dildos, or novelty lubes, etc.
One of the services offered at the porn store was DVD rentals. Now, just prior to being hired, there had been on-site private viewing rooms that customers could use. I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that they shut those down the week before I started. My very first day I heard such horror stories of having to clean up those rooms from the veteran staff. Ugh.
But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have horror stories of my own to tell. So many times I sent customers back home with the DVD they were due to be returning telling them “You’re going to have to clean that up before I can accept the return”. There were times I wished it was store policy to wear latex gloves before accepting rental returns. I learned to keep a small bottle of hand sanitiser on my person at all times. Thankfully, despite having had to reject returns on many occasions, it was usually a one-time event with a given customer. Usually.
Overall, though, I had little to complain about. Most week nights it was pretty quiet, and I’d stand behind the counter with whomever happened to be on shift with me and make commentary about whatever porn was playing on the TVs above our heads. The adults-only version of “Mystery Science Theater 3000”.
Sometimes, just a little bit, I miss that job. On the other hand, it’s nice not to worry about having a bottle of Purell in your pocket at any given moment.
Last week I wrote a post called “Fourteen Thousand“, in which I made a short list of things that make me happy. I thought that maybe, in the spirit of never taking anything for granted, I might make a short list every Friday from here on out of things that, well, make me happy.
Yes, I know I didn’t write the first list on a Friday, but, “14K Fridays” sounds nicer than “14K Wednesdays” and Fridays tend to make me happier than Wednesdays, anyway. We’re going to call this Week 2. Right, enough babbling, on with the list!
I’m not actually planning on listing 14,000 things here in this post, but I did own a book entitled 14,000 Things To Be Happy About. It was a cute, fat little book that legitimately listed that many things to be happy about,. Or, I think it did. I never actually counted, and it was not a numbered list.
I used to carry it with me everywhere that I went. When something would make me smile, I’d grab a pen and scribble it down in the margins of that fat little book. Somewhere along the way, I lost that book, and so I thought that I might start a new list.
I think that’s a good start.
NB: Thanks to The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden for the video of the red pandas playing!