All Articles Tagged "cross country love"
Equilibrium: The smooth-talking-street-smart-intellectual mirage we girls sometimes dream of. I met him on the corner of impossible; wrapped in a loose white shirt, almost sagging jeans, fresh kicks, and a Yankee fitted. The white iPod headphones slipped up and down his chest as he bopped his head ferociously. Chiseled face, a perfect brown, a goatee and mustache; connected around his full lips.
Usually, I avoided the type: Semi-angry man rapping through the subways and swiping their metro cards to the lyricism of a favorite emcee. I imagined if I broke their spell, they’d bark at me or send me flying off the tracks.
He was different.
His walk was slow, unlike his peers that graced their native pavement alongside him. I followed him out of the bustling cave, littered with musicians and storytellers, up the steps to Union Square. An equestrian swagger and serious demeanor crossed the street in front of me, his broad shoulders flexing, arms tatted with bulging veins; he gripped his mp3 for safe keeping. I glanced down at his keychain that swung from his back pocket, its prevalent lanyard read….”New York University.” I smiled at my ignorance. I assumed he was some retail associate or customer headed towards an urban and trendy SOHO store.
In fact, he was a transfer from San Francisco State and taking a semester of classes at NYU to experience the city while getting a few credits out of the way. A psych major, epitome of hip-hop head, and one of the most intelligent brothers I’d ever met; crossed my path and I had to yet to fathom it.
After four blocks of walking behind him he asked, “Uh, are you following me?” I immediately recognized his west coast accent having fallen in love with a Bay Area species once before. I laughed, “I think we’re just headed to the same place.”
He smiled, “See, I knew you were stalking me.”
I pulled at his lanyard, motioning towards our simultaneous destination, and it was with this gesture that our closeness began.
I was headed to an open mic the school was hosting and he was headed to class. Since both ended around the same time, we bumped into each other once more. Convinced it was destiny we flung our legs over benches nearby and exchanged anecdotes until the sun drowned in the dark purple of the city’s summer sky.
The summer before my junior year and his senior year, we were drenched in love. We wrung ourselves in front of his dorm kissing, sipped mudslides at Applebee’s, and held hands like the spaces between our fingers were jigsaw.
He was raised by his mother, a reflection of goodbye-food-is-in-the-fridge in the morning’s mirror. He whispered something about growing up in the worst area of his city and bringing up a brother three years his junior, who was now addicted to cocaine and in and out of rehab.
“I wasn’t letting social services know we didn’t have it together. I couldn’t have us split apart.” He twiddled his thumbs, while relaying this story, three hours into our five-hour-first-in-depth conversation. I placed my hands on his shoulders, imagining I could soak up some of the pain that came with reminiscing on things better left forgotten.
The summer waved goodbye to us like a long gone friend. Our hearts floated above the heavy waters of our chests and swayed like buoys waiting to drown. We shook hands at farewell; a river and ocean promising to converge once again.
They say 3,000 miles is but a block for lovers. The advantage of technology on our side, we decided keeping in touch would be easy for us. There were the good times. A shared laugh through Skype on a computer screen, an i-miss-you text, and snail mail that placed withering concrete on our lack of physicality.
The distance always prevails.
The silent space between texts grew frequent. The frenzies we called life whirled around us as we longed for clarity. I was blurred by men and buzzing friends who advocated that our relationship was pointless. He was swarmed with whispers from women who knew seduction could trump a distant fidelity any day. We were trapped. Between the white screens and black font, the IM boxes, and the voices that grew fainter.
Does this sound familiar?
His breath pervaded the receiver heavily that night. Lips pressed to the bottom of the phone, hoping his words would invade my ears like a reality we once knew. I knew it was time, it was well overdue. “I’ve come to accept the reality that we can’t be together. This conversation was supposed to happen some time ago. Even if we plan trips for this summer, it won’t be enough. It’s like; I can’t have you right when I need you. I want to be your solidity and your sanity when stress is heavy. Knowing that I can’t do that for you or be there kills me. You need that. I can’t provide it from this far.”
He was right. So right, that I clutched the side of the bedpost and listened quietly and intently while the blisters grew upon my palms. Blisters comprised of wanting to throw things, shake the world, and roar in anger. But we were adults now. Adults weren’t allowed to cry when they didn’t get their way, blame God for detachment, or believe in fairytales. We wiped the fairy dust from our eyes the moment we realized life wasn’t fair and would forever drag on as such.
There was a quiet in our already inaudible storm. With nothing else left to say we parted ways, split by our longing. He posted this on his status the next day:
“I had to set you free away from me to see clearly// The way that love can be when you are not with me. I had to leave, I had to live. –Maxwell”
The space between yesterday and today are littered with present(s). A closed fortune cookie, an unused lottery ticket, and a union never united. Long distance for me were bullet wounds filled with glimmers of hope. Hope always fills the barrel with hollow tips. All it takes is one shot, one promise, and one prayer.
What’s your long distance relationship story?
“RivaFlowz” is a teacher and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz.
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