One journal, one passport, one book… what’s missing?
Did you see the Drew Barrymore/Justin Long flick Going the Distance? Well, that came pretty close to emulating my real-life relationship. It goes a little something like this…
In the summer of 2005, I was feeling mighty fine – you might say, ‘On cloud nine’ – and so dared to ask a hot surfer boy out on a date. ’What have I got to lose?’, I thought, ‘I’m on holidays and should he turn me down I will weather the blow by seeking solace in the company of a former beau!’
Now, in hindsight, that’s not very fair: to have a back-up plan just in case. To presume that you can get away with potentially breaking a boy’s heart just for the thrill of a chase. How flippant we are about matters of the heart. But there you go. I was but 24 and Sex and the City had taken its course.
To cut a long story short, we got to quite like each other and decided to give the long-distance dating route a try. And so, every few weeks, with he on the Gold Coast and me in Sydney, we would take it in turns to play visits.
It was wonderfully romantic – all butterflies-in-the-tummy anticipation and sleepless nights broken up with utter delight when a clandestine text message would arrive at midnight (bleary-eyed, I would reply). We would banter on the phone for hours and hours and became best mates by virtue of this dialogue.
How pure, how lovely, how utterly Drew Barrymore movie.
But, of course, life is not a movie; not even Drew and Justin could hold it together. It was a rocky course. We got married and very nearly divorced. But now, now, I never want to leave his side. The formerly independent girl wants to take him in my pocket wherever I go; to cuddle into the morning even as the world’s demands press in.
That kind of talk used to make me want to spew.
Used to be that I would be quite content with a satchel stuffed with journal, book, magazine, newspaper and phone – handy defences against the world of being alone; would be ashamed to admit that I needed anyone. Me? No… I looooove my own company. I am excellent at self-entertainment.
I still do like to venture about the place solo, to seek solitude in book shops and cafes and to tuck away my own little experiences to share. I can tuly find contentment in just about any place, really I can, even when alone. I just don’t want that all the time. Because my man is sublime. Not perfect, but mine. And I miss him all the time, even if he’s just five minutes down the road, sometimes just downstairs.
Puppy love? Nope.
I reckon this is the real stuff borne of hardship and hurt and wrestling with insecurity and selfishness and disappointment that binds two people together like super-sticky glue or gum on your shoe. When we watched the new Twilight movie together just recently (don’t judge us), we came away both gobsmacked for a bit. Why?
Seeing Bella all emaciated and malnourished and frail brought back terrible memories for us both. But it was Hot Stuff #1 (Team Edward) and Hot Stuff #2 (Team Jake) looking on and just loving her anyway that cut to the core. I’ve been a sickly little Bella before. BUT… my boy? He stuck around, too. And, well, that means more to me than any earthly pleasures can provide.
When the going gets tough (and it got really, really tough), that’s when true love can thrive.
And so, as I set course for New York (oh, woe is me – wish you could ALL come with me, seriously!) and farewell my man at the airport, spare a thought for the one you love or the one who loves you (or the one who got away, or the one you’ll meet one day) and give yourself permission to believe that romantic love is possible and living and breathing (I’m not just teasing).