If I had known that going to see you would have led to this, I don’t think I would have ever jumped in my car.
We were doing great. You were coming back from Germany. I was in the final stretch at school. You were coming here to visit in just a few weeks and I was excited to show you where I live.
You asked me to come see you the weekend you got home. You had days off, and really wanted to see me. I wanted to see you, too. It was crazy. A 16hr drive, missing school, and so last minute. But I decided to go. How many times do you get to jump at fun chances?
You told me when you were landing, and what time you would be on base. I planned backwards to arrive right around that time. I packed up my things, dropped off the cat, and set off before the sun started to rise. Adventures never start mid-morning.
Along the way, your flight was delayed. And delayed again. I carried on, adding in extra stops to stretch out my drive. I did yoga in Pennsylvania, had lunch in West Virginia. Music played, and the miles rolled by.
You were set to arrive at five. I got close to you around 3, so I wasted time and waited around. You promised a text when you landed, so I waited. Closer to 5, I arrived at the gate, got my pass, and parked where you told me I would find you. No thanks to the guards, as they had no clue where to direct me to. Still no text. Maybe your phone died. 5:15, I start to wonder if I am in the right place. 5:25, still no text, still waiting, still wondering. 5:45, I ask someone if I am in the right place. She has no idea, but suggests I try the other side of the lot. Road is barricaded – so I wait for it to open at 6. It opens, I head over. No sign of your car. No clue what I am looking for. So I go back. Still no text. Still waiting.
6:10 or so, you text! You have just landed. I text back checking to see if it was a delayed text or real time. Real time. You say about an hour or so until you arrive. I leave base and find coffee – it’s been a long night. I find the little place you took me to when I was down in the Fall and get breakfast. Not there long before I get another text. You’re on your way – a 20min warning or so. I time it out and head back. 6:40 or so, still no you. More waiting. Finally – the buses roll by and I head off to find you.
You’re exhausted from travel and so am I, but it was so good to see you. Hugging you is like putting on an old sweatshirt the first time it gets cold in the fall. Regardless of how much time has passed, it feels just like home. We slip right into just being us, with the seven months of separation barely noticeable.
It wasn’t the greatest weekend. I was exhausted – from driving, school, stressing over work, depression, and all the rest. You were exhausted from travel, training, and the usual joys that seem to come with the army. It was hot, and we were crowding each others space. Ultimately, not an easy recipe. But it was still so nice to be with you.
The days flew by, and soon enough it was Sunday. I was packing up to leave in the morning, sad, but excited to be seeing you so shortly after. In the morning, I woke up, kissed you goodbye, and you thanked me for coming down. That was that, so I turned Lex around and we headed North.
The drive was uneventful, though faster than the first. I picked up the cat and got home completely exhausted. Back to life as usual.
That’s when it all started to fall apart.
Good morning and good night texts were gone. Your answers were one word, maybe three at most. You couldn’t find your passport, so suddenly the trip you had promised me wasn’t a guarantee. You went silent for a few days, then you snapped at me and the trip was now a no-go because you couldn’t make it work in time. More silence.
Ten days of silence later, you say you’re not going to come around and this isn’t going to work. So simple. Just like that. One simple little text. It’s always amazing how powerful words can be – or the lack there of.
I still haven’t figured out how to tell people we’re over. I’m sure it’s partially denial, but it’s also because I don’t understand where it all went so wrong. If I had known that going to see you would have led to this, I don’t think I would have ever jumped in my car.
I guess I just figured that when you were here, we would have more time and more space. We’d both be more well slept and less cranky. There were so many things we wanted to do, people who wanted to meet you.
If I had known that one grumpy weekend was going to be enough to pull the pin, I probably would have tried harder to be happier.
But here’s the thing. I don’t want a love that only works when it’s easy. It is never going to be just easy. There will always be hard bits, and I need love that has room for that, too. I don’t want a love where I’m the only one making an effort. I asked so many times if you had your passport, you promised me you were coming, and I believed you. I drove nearly 2000 miles to see you for a couple days, and you couldn’t get a passport to come and see me. I know it is not that hard.
I don’t understand where it all went so wrong. How did it so quickly become not worth it to try when it hadn’t been any easier or any harder before? How did I go from ‘perfect’ to not worth talking to? When did that change happen, and how did I not see it coming? How could we just not be worth at least trying to talk about? How was it so easy to just walk away?
I don’t think these are questions I’ll ever have answers to, but it makes this all hard to make sense of. It feels like it all went wrong when you realized you, too, would have to put some effort in to make this work. But that’s what grown-up love is about.
I don’t know how I feel about any of this. I haven’t really cried or been mad. I am sure that the medication I am on is a part of that, but I am also just too confused to understand what to feel. But what I do know is this:
If I could, I would do it all again. I know that with a little time and some patience, we be just fine. We would find a way to work with my anxiety and need for reassurance and your spatula-like communication skills. I know that we would be happy, and we would be good for each other. I would balance out your stubbornness with flexibility, and you would make sure I stand my ground when it’s important to. And I know this because your arms feel like home in a world where nothing else does.