February in Retrospect

It's over halfway through March and I'm only just getting around to this month in retrospect for February.  I guess that's to be expected... I no longer live in Los Angeles.  Fuck, I no longer live in California.

In February, I got rid of the vast majority of my things, packed my Honda CR-V to the brim, and drove 400 miles to Tempe, Arizona.  My new home.

Last month, when I wrote that everything was about to change, I'm not sure I understood what I was writing.  Sure, I knew that things were about to change.  I knew there were logistics that would be different.  I'd moved before.  I knew Arizona would be hotter than California.  I knew I'd be further away from my home and my family.  I knew I'd lose quick access to all the food and entertainment I'd grown accustomed to in LA.  I knew things would change.

But I hadn't really thought about how I'd change.  Or not change, as the case may be.

The vast majority of February was unremarkable.  I'd interviewed for a job in Tempe the last week of January and by the following week, I knew they were interested in hiring me.  I spent the early weeks of the month in a holding pattern--trying to detach myself from my life in LA, but not trying to detach too much in the event I got the job.  It's hard to wean yourself off of a city when you're not sure you're going to be gone.  And then all at once, it happened.

I got the call.  I quit my job.  I started calling and texting people.  I started donating things.  I started packing.

Before the month was up, I'd moved in with Michael and his roommate Ryan.  In Tempe.  In the desert.  Four hundred miles away from the life I'd loved so much in LA.

There is still so much of me that feels like I live in LA and am just a visitor here.  Just a passer-by in the lives of the people here.  Just someone who wandered in and will wander out in the near future.  Even though I know that's not true.  I have a job here.  I have a driver's license here.  All my things no longer have my California address.  I am here.

But a portion of my heart feels caught sitting at the edge of pavement and sand in Los Angeles.  And I don't know how long this longing will last.  I don't know if it ever goes away.

January in Retrospect

I started the Month in Retrospect series last year as a way to get myself to write more.  It worked, for a while.  It also got me to remember parts about 2016 that I have next to no recollection of.  So I decided to try it again in 2017!

I started the year off in Tempe.  Asleep.  Someone once told me that how you spend January 1st dictates how you'll spend the rest of the year.  If that's true, I will be spending the rest of the year sleeping or lazily hanging out in Tempe, Arizona.

I was in Tempe for winter break, spending time with Michael before his busy season at work hit.  We spent our time together being very domestic--mostly cooking meals to feed his friends.  I don't cook much when I'm alone at home because I find cooking for one to be difficult, so going grocery shopping and making dinners with Michael, and then breaking bread with his friends was a rare simple pleasure.

Once back in LA, time kind of sped forward.  I flew back to Arizona briefly and unexpectedly in the middle of the first week of the semester.  I read 6 books.  I ran a half marathon.  I visited a meditation garden.  I went to Disneyland in the rain.  I went to a fantastic Planned Parenthood fundraiser/comedy show.  I got bad news followed by great news.  I bought kinetic sand (which I am obsessed with).

Now that it's February, I'm taken aback by all that has happened, and all that is now coming my way because of the events of January.

I feel like everything is about to change.

Be brave

There is a Totoro pillow next to Linda, my therapist's, door.  This is a new addition to her dim, but warm office.  Totoro, a Japanese animated character from a Hayao Miyazaki film, is painted in blue-green hues on an ivory canvas pillow.  I think Totoro is a bunny?  I keep breaking eye contact with Linda to look over at the pillow.  The colors remind me of the ocean on a summer's day.  The ocean is something that has always brought me comfort.  I need comfort now.

There is a boulder caught in the pit of my stomach today.  A boulder I've fashioned myself, built out of fear and self-hatred.  It sits in my belly, where I thought all of my intestines were supposed to be housed.  It must've crushed everything inside of me.

Linda has a shrill, tight voice and she speaks through her teeth.  Right now she is nearly yelling at me.  I look towards Totoro, towards the door, wondering if I can bolt.  The boulder inside me weighs too much.  It anchors me to the couch.

"You are beautiful and intelligent and accomplished and you don't see it!" she says.  My brain, faulty with negativity, discards the compliments and latches onto the phrase, "You don't see it."  It clings to the part in the sentence where I have failed and reasons that since I don't see it, I must not be as beautiful, intelligent, and accomplished as she thinks I am.  My brain turns everything I am into a failure.

"You are self-sabotaging," she says now.  She is so impassioned that I wonder idly if she's experiencing transference.  I wonder if it's really me she's talking to, or if she's talking to herself, or her daughter, or her friend, or some amalgam of important women in her life who have no sense of their own worth.  "It's a shame what society does to women, women like you.  How it makes you think you're not good enough."

I want to break her diatribe and say something.  I resist the urge to raise my hand, like a student in a classroom waiting for the teacher's permission to speak, and wait for a pause in conversation.  It doesn't come.  She keeps talking.

"Your boyfriend sees how wonderful you are and you can't.  You're afraid that you're going to get hurt in some imagined future, but you're making yourself miserable now."

The boulder in my gut expands, crushing my lungs, knocking the air out of me.  I start to cry. 

"They say jealousy is healthy in small amounts, but you don't want to go overboard.  People are going to find your partner attractive.  It is what it is.  If you assume he is cheating on you, you might end up looking for proof that he is.  You never want to be the girl who feels the urge to check her boyfriend's phone.  Then you'll really seem crazy.  The only way to learn how to trust someone is to trust them."

I start shaking now, trying to choke back sobs.  I stare at my lap, where my hands are carefully clasped.  I try to keep them still and steady because every other part of me feels like it's falling apart.  I am crying because she's right.  I'm crying because I already knew everything she's said to me.

"Are you happy with him?" she asks.  I look up from my hands and she locks eyes with me.

I think about Michael and my heart swells in my chest, tamping the boulder down.  I think about the way he scratches his face with his thumb.  I think about how he always serves me food before he serves himself.  I think about his laughter, loud and unencumbered.  I think about the way he smiles at me sometimes, more with his eyes than with his mouth, a smile that I've always taken to mean I love you.  For a moment, the boulder disappears.

"Yes," I breathe.

"Then why are you trying to push him away?"

"I can't say I loved you then, but I knew that I wanted to love you."  Michael says this to me while we're on the phone one night.  I am lying in bed.  He is somewhere in Arizona, 400 miles away.  We are talking about 8 years ago, when we were co-workers.  Friends.  "Does that make sense?" he asks when I say nothing in reply.

"Yes," I say.

That might be the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me.  Somehow, it's even sweeter than I love you itself.  Loving someone, to me, is danger.  People are fallible and clumsy.  To willingly put your heart in the hands of another person seems reckless.  

For Michael to have wanted to give me his heart back then--when I was oblivious to his feelings and confiding to him that I was dating another man we'd worked with--means something to me.

It means he saw me as worth the risk.  Worthy in ways I'd never seen myself.

For him to actually admit to falling in love with me, 8 years later, even after I cried on our first date and confessed that I regularly feel like running away from him, leads me to believe he still sees me as worth the risk.

He makes me wonder if loving someone is not reckless, but brave.

Why are you trying to push him away?  I let Linda's question hang in the air between us, even though I know the answer, and I know she knows the answer.

I push him away because I've never been brave.  I have always been shrouded in cowardice.  I have always hid, made myself small, sat quietly in the corner hoping no one would notice me.  If you go unnoticed, you cannot fuck up.  

I push him away because I think I am too damaged to be loved, that I am not worthy or deserving of such a good, kind, loving man.  I push him away because I think I'm protecting myself.  I think I'm protecting him.

"I know I'm a self-fulfilling prophecy," I say, finally.  "I know that I'm so scared of getting hurt that I'm trying to hurt him so he'll hurt me and it will justify my belief that I am unworthy of love.  And it is making me miserable."


"Then you have to stop," she says.  "You have to challenge that tape playing in your head telling you you're not good enough."

"But it's so hard."  I sound petulant.

Linda stares at me silently.

"I know I have to do it," I say, breaking the silence with my exasperation.  "I know.  You're right."

I start crying again.  I am afraid of getting hurt, yes, but I realize in Linda's office that I am more afraid of losing Michael.  I am afraid of hurting him, of ruining the good thing we have.

I'm not sure I know how to be brave.  I just know I have to try.

2016 Survey

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before? 
Baked cookies at a pizza restaurant.  Threw up on the side of the road.  Had a 26 hour long first date.  Drove to Arizona.  Learned how to snapchat.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 
I don't know that I did make any new year's resolutions.  In January, I started training pretty intensely.  I think my unofficial new year's resolution was to lose weight.  If that's the case, then I succeeded.  I lost 20 lbs. between January and April.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 
Two people!  Kelly and Stephanie.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I am always thankful when the answer to this is no.

5. What countries did you visit? 
None.  Hoping for a Southeast Asia trip in 2017.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? 
Steadier footing.  Cheaper rent.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory and why? 
August 20-21:  The 26 hour long first date.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 
I didn't die.  This is always a big achievement, but even more so this year.

9. What was your biggest failure? 
I was frivolous with my spending.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 
I was on medical leave for a month, so I guess you could say that.

11. What was the best thing you bought? 
Outpatient care.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? 
Michael's.  He's the kindest, most understanding partner a girl in my position could ask for.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 

14. Where did most of your money go? 
Rent. Plane tickets to Arizona.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 
Disney World.  Michael.

16. What song will always remind of you 2015? 
"Reaper" - Sia
"Meant to Be" - Melissa Polinar
The entire soundtrack to Hamilton.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: 
a) happier or sadder? Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? 
I don't know.  There's a lot about this year I don't remember.  Saving I guess.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? 
Spending money?

20. Did you fall in love in 2016? 
Yes.  Wildly, so.

21. What was your favorite TV program? 
Jane the Virgin!  This show quickly became one of my favorite shows ever.  Other notable favorites include: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Stranger Things, and Black Mirror.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? 
You know, with everything that's happened politically this year, I want to hate.  I want to be angry and hurtful and hateful.  But I know that that doesn't solve anything.  I am trying to be open-hearted.  It's difficult, but I am trying.

23. What was the best book you read? 
I read quite a few incredible books.  I'm going to pick favorites based on genre.  My favorite self-help book was Super You by Emily Gordon.  My favorite non-fiction book was Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  My favorite fiction book was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  My favorite YA fiction book was The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon.

Honorable mentions in self-help: Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch and Rising Strong by Brene Brown.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery? 
HAMILTON.  So, back in 2015, I went on a date with this guy whose name I can't even remember, but he mentioned Hamilton to me and suggested I look into it.  I didn't.  I finally listened to the soundtrack in early summer.  And then it became the only thing I listened to for months.  I am pretty good at rapping the vast majority of it.

25. What did you want and get? 
Last year I wrote that I wanted an emotionally intimate relationship in 2016.  I am grateful to say that I got it.

26. What did you want and not get? 
More money.  Still.  Always.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? 
I think Captain Fantastic takes the cake.  I also enjoyed Arrival, The Edge of 17, and Rogue One.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 
I ran in the morning and then had a long long happy hour with Maria and Maricris at Border Grill downtown.  They gave me free alcohol and food.

29. How you would describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? 
Same old.

30. What kept you sane? 
Therapy, meditation, crystal healing, friends, crying, running, Michael.

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? 
I kind of fell in love with the character of Michael Cordero in Jane the Virgin.  He reminds me a lot of my own Michael.

32. Who did you miss? 
I miss my 826LA family.

33. Who was the best new person you met? 
I met Kirsti and Sweeney IRL this year!  I've met some lovely folks in Tempe, thanks to my boyfriend.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
You must master your mind, lest it master you.

35. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing
I'm alive

Year's End Reflection

I still run around my life claiming that time isn't real, and yet I still take the time to reflect on times past.  Go figure.  I have always been a walking contradiction.

This year I heard a beautiful episode of Rob Bell's podcast titled "Seasons."  In it, Bell talks about literal seasons--the blooming and dying of plants, the warmth of summers and chill of winters, the ever moving cycle of life and death--and relates it to seasons in one's personal life.  Prior to hearing Bell talk of seasons, I don't know that I'd ever equated the ups and downs of my life to seasons.  Death is essential to new life in nature and, so it seems, ends are essential to new beginnings in my personal life too.

My 2015 reflection sounded hopeful.  It sounded like I'd suffered and come through the other side, but I had not yet hit bottom.  The end of 2015, most notably my admission of my December nervous breakdown, was only the beginning of a tumble down into darkness.

The beginning of 2016 is a void I only vaguely remember.  There are few things that I know for sure.  

I ran a lot.  I did this because it was the one thing that helped me feel steady.  I did it because I needed to remind myself that I could still do something; that even though my mind was screaming for a reprieve from life, my body was still strong and capable.  It helped.  For a while.  

I took a month off of work for outpatient care.  The doctor's note stating that I was under 24/7 doctor supervision is tucked into a folder in my apartment somewhere--one of the few pieces of evidence that that whole ordeal even happened.  

I journaled quite a bit.  Writing became another way that I felt solid and real and relevant in the world, even if the writing was for my eyes only.  

I shut myself in.  

I shut others out.  

I lost 20 lbs.  

And that's about it.

The second half of 2016 is clearer.  It felt almost like coming to from a coma.  Even so, everything is still shrouded in haze.  I wish I could articulate the wonder and joy and love that has filled the second half of the year, but the first half still overshadows it.  There is still a nagging question of whether or not it's possible to have two such stark different halves to a year.  There is still a part of me waiting for the other shoe to drop on the second half of 2016.

I know this is no way to live, though.  To move forward in fear isn't really moving forward.  

Which brings me to 2017.  In 2017, and every year after, I hope to move forward in a way that allows me growth.  2016 has been challenging, and there is still so much work to be done.  I want to continue to move through the darkness and make it through to the other side.  The thought of staying where I am, of continuing to do what I am comfortable doing instead of challenging myself to be better, is not the path I want to take.

2016 started a transformation.  2017, I hope, will continue it.

He and I are no accident

November:  Tempe

When Michael crawls into his bed, it is nearly midnight.  I have been asleep for hours, after encouraging him to have dinner with his friends without me.  I feel the warmth of his body as he pulls me into him, feel the scratch of his beard against my cheek as he kisses me.  His breath is bittered by beer.

"I missed you," he whispers.

"I missed you too," I whisper back.

He laughs, low and breathy.  "How could you miss me?" he asks.  "You were asleep."

"I always miss you when you're gone," I reply.

I turn to taste the barley on his lips.  His grip on me tightens as each of us inhales the other.

September:  Los Angeles

Michael sits on an arm chair in our Hampton Inn hotel room in Arcadia.  He is pulling on his socks, readying himself for our day out, when he mentions a caption on a photo I'd posted to Instagram.

The caption read:  "I thought about waking her.  But it was unnecessary.  There would be other nights.  And how can you say I love you to someone you love?  I rolled onto my side and fell asleep next to her.  Here is the point of everything I have been trying to tell you, Oskar.  It's always necessary."

"Who's Oskar?" he asks.

I tell him it's a quote from a book--Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

I don't tell him that I posted it to remind myself that it's always necessary to say I love you to someone you love.

I often think about how it's called falling in love.  Not walking.

Or running.

Or gliding.

Or sailing.

Or soaring.  

But falling.

October:  Los Angeles

I am standing at the security entrance in Terminal 1 of the Los Angeles International Airport.  Over Michael's shoulder, I watch as traveler after traveler queues for security.  I remember a time when I loved airports.  I remember when airports smelled of promise and adventure.

Presently, LAX smells of sorrow and heartbreak.  Michael is leaving again.  It feels like he is always leaving.  Or I am always leaving.  There are too many elsewhere obligations pulling us apart.

I check the time and give us a deadline to say goodbye.  And then I collapse into tears.

Michael places his palms on either side of my face, tilting my head until my gaze meets his, and wipes my tear stained cheeks with his thumbs.  He leans down to kiss me.  It tastes of salt.  When he pulls away, I cry harder.  I rest my head on his chest and he shushes me sweetly.  I calm down and look back up at him.

His eyes are thick with concern.  I reach up and run my fingers through his beard, in awe of his gentleness with me.  

I am wildly in love with him and haven't yet found the courage to say it.

Our time runs out and he leaves again.  Still not knowing how I feel.

Later October:  Los Angeles

I find a journal entry from 6 years ago.  In it I write about running into Michael at our old job.  "I love Mike," it reads.

I take a picture and send it 400 miles to Michael, in Tempe, through text message.

"Ah!" he writes in reply.

"To clarify:  I'm sure I meant I loved you in a completely platonic, friend kind of way."

"No need to clarify," he writes back.

This is the closest I get to telling him I love him:  sending him a picture of a 6-year-old journal entry where I say that I love him.

Falling evokes images in my mind of bruises and cuts.  Of fragility.  Of helplessness.

Falling is often accidental; you trip and fall.

It is clumsy.  It is shocking.  It is confusing.

November:  Tempe (continued)

Mine and Michael's minds are equal parts hazy--his from alcohol, mine from sleep.  Regardless, our lips find their rhythm and we are pulled out of our respective hazes and into the present.

He stops kissing me abruptly.  He declares that he has something to say.

"I didn't want to do it like this.  This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to say."

He pauses then.  It is a silence weighted with my anticipation and fear.  We'd been fighting the night before.  I had been hurtful.  My mind immediately jumps to:  He's about to break up with me.  I turn to search his face for what's yet to come, but he is cloaked in darkness.  No moonlight or lamplight creeps through his blinds.  I cannot see his face.  I cannot read his eyes.  I turn away from him in fear.

I do not know what is coming.

I hold my breath.  I feel him inhale beside me.

"I love you, Sheryl."

I snap my head back to look at him.

"I love you too," I say.

The first time I tell Michael I love him, the words jump from my tongue to the edge of my lips and into the space between us. 

It is clumsy and shocked and confused.

It is fragile.  It is helpless.

I often think about how it's called falling in love.  Not walking, or running, or gliding, or sailing, or soaring--but falling.

The first time I tell Michael I love him, it is all of the things I associate with falling.  But it is not falling.

To call it falling is to call it an accident.  He and I are no accident.  He and I did not stumble into this.  He and I have jumped.

Jumping into love.

Jumping captures all of the things falling does, but also the intention, the faith, and the choice involved in loving.

Despite my fears, I decided to jump.  I wanted to fall.  I have faith in this man, and in this relationship.

I chose this love.

Laughter and wanting

I cradle my margarita glass in both hands and gently touch my tongue to the salted rim.  I tip the glass slightly, sip the cool tequila cocktail, and let it warm me from the inside out.  I feel the drink slide down my throat and spread through my body, the alcohol turning off my verbal filter in the process.  I look across the table at Michael and try to hold in my laughter.

"You don't think this is weird?" I say, pressing him to agree with me.  I know his answer before he says it.

"No," he replies.

I watch as his face falls slightly, and I worry that I've been doing something wrong, making him feel uncomfortable or unwanted when, in actuality, I want him more than I can remember wanting anyone in a long time.

I take another sip of alcohol and start laughing again.

"It feels like we're on a first date!"  I say.

"But we're already together!" he shoots back.  His exasperation is apparent and I am crestfallen.

"I mean it in a good way!"  I want to convince him of my truth.  It is good.  Good.  Sweet.  Perfect.

He stares back at me, lips pressed tight, and his eyes shift from side to side in quiet disagreement.  He does not think I mean it in a good way.

I often stare at Michael in disbelief and awe.  It happens every time we're together.  Or when we are FaceTiming when we're far apart.  I will simply stop speaking and quietly study his face and mannerisms.  The ever-changing color of his eyes.  The red hairs peeking through the brown of his beard.  The way he scratches his nose and upper lip with the back of his thumb.  The click of his tongue before he says, "So..." and trails off after he finishes a thought.

I commit each of these details to memory and then review them again and again each time we see each other.  I expect to one day be bored by it, but I never am.  Each time I am more fascinated by him.

I have known Michael for eight years.  Back in the early days of knowing each other, when we were nothing more than friends, I would sit across from him repeatedly--never taking note of any of the tiny details that I now study intently.  Back then, I would come down to San Diego, visiting from Los Angeles, and he would call me and ask if I wanted to grab a drink.  I don't think I ever turned him down.  I enjoyed spending time with him that much.  We would meet somewhere and drink and talk and laugh for hours.  When we were friends, I didn't pay much attention to the terrain of his face or the subtle, habitual movements of his body.  I would simply revel in his company.

Now that we are more than friends, now that he is the man I wish I could wake up to every morning and fall asleep next to each night, I feel as if I see him with new eyes.  I don't understand it.  How did I spend countless days in his presence and never notice the width of his fingers or the shine of his hair?

But my disbelief and awe go deeper than that.  I am not only confused by the fact that I never paid attention to his physical attributes.  I am blown away that I failed to see the kind, sweet, generous, loving man that he is.  When I stare at him now, as my boyfriend, I wonder why I didn't go after him sooner.  I wonder why we lost six years in between the platonic and the romantic.  Six years where we stopped being friends, where silence stretched between us and made us strangers.  

I spent those six years fumbling through relationships with men who were not deserving of my time and energy.  I spent those six years mindlessly scrolling and swiping through dating profiles on my computer and phone.  I spent those six years on awkward first dates, in a city with a dating culture where it feels like everyone is only half-heartedly invested in dating; where it's simple and quick to find another option as soon as the one in front of you displays the slightest human flaw.

When I look at Michael and start laughing, I am laughing in disbelief and awe and joy and gratitude.  I am laughing because it took me years to realize what had been in front of me eight years ago.  I am laughing at the absurd perfection of timing.  I am laughing because even though I wish I hadn't wasted so many years with the wrong men, I know that they prepared me to finally see what the right one looked like.

After dinner, Michael and I move from our table to the bar, where he orders another glass of wine while I sip the last of my margarita.  I push my barstool up against his and rest my hand on his thigh.  I study the geometry of his profile--the angle of his jawline, the slope of his nose.  I start laughing again and feel him tense beside me.  In my head I keep asking myself, "How did I get so lucky?"  I want to tell him that that is what I'm thinking, but I don't.

Instead, my insides seize in fear, and I start laughing harder.

I realize there is another reason I am laughing.  I am afraid.

Not afraid of Michael himself, but of wanting him as much as I do.  To want him is to be vulnerable.  To want him is to place my already fragile heart in his hands and wish for the best.  It is faith and trust and hope.

I am laughing at the absurdity of being afraid.

Michael is kind, sweet, generous, and loving.  He is my friend, and my boyfriend.  Even if he were to take my heart and destroy it I would get through it.

I am laughing because I want him more than I can remember wanting anyone in a long time.  Even with the risk of getting hurt, the vulnerability that wanting entails, the fear it creates.

I am laughing because I am thrilled to finally see and appreciate the astonishingly good man who had been in front of me all along.

The Long D

I started watching the current season of New Girl and have hit the episode where Winston tries to teach Nick how to be in a long distance relationship.  In an early scene in the episode, they're at the bar and Winston keeps calling long distance "the long d."  Many sexual puns ensue.  Nick tries to get Winston to see that "the long d" sounds like he's referring to a dick.  Winston doesn't get it.  And I sit on my couch watching this, laughing at the dick jokes.

But underneath the laughter at the easy puns, I am unsettled.  Not because of the dick jokes--dick jokes are almost a guaranteed giggle for me--but because I am in a long distance relationship.  And Winston is right--the long d is hard.

I don't quite know how I ended up here.  I'm in a relationship with a man I met when I was 21.  We met in a city that neither of us currently live in.  We hadn't seen or spoken to each other in 6 years before we reconnected as friends, and then started dating.  One of the last times I saw him before our 6 years of silence, he discouraged me from dating anyone outside of the city where I lived.  He had been adamantly against long distance relationships due to some bad past experiences.  He doesn't quite know how he ended up here either.

It's strange carrying out a relationship in text messages, phone calls, and video chats.  I find myself envious of friends who see their partners on a regular basis.  I find myself envious of the people in my boyfriend's life who get to see him on a regular basis.  I question why I pursued this man, knowing full well that he lived another state away, in a different time zone, in what sometimes feels like a different world.

And then we talk.  We spend hours discussing our days, our thoughts, our feelings, our future.  We connect through talking because it's all that we have most days.  And then we see each other.  He slips his fingers between mine and holds our clasped hands to his heart and I can't imagine being with anyone else.  He pulls me into his arms and my doubts disintegrate.  He insists we sleep with at least one part of our bodies touching, our skin making up for lost time.  Waking up to him is magic.  Rare and lovely magic.

As hard as the long d can be, I'm getting used to it.  And I guess it's better to have the long d than no d at all.