Alexi and I have been doing distance since October 15, 2016.
A lot of my friends and people I know are doing or have done distance with their significant others. Given the realities of being a young person trying to make it in a competitive world, being in the same city or state as your person is not always an option. And so, you do distance.
Doing distance is brutal for many reasons. Not seeing your person every day. Not getting to hold them, kiss them, laugh at the petty mundane daily human stuff, dance with them, surprise them, sleep with them–it’s the little, quiet beautiful moments that feel the hardest.
But one of the worst parts are the drives to the airport after a visit.
The visits are like coming up for air after being submerged almost too long. You pull up take a big, fat gulp of air and feel instant relief. The world seems not just okay again, but pristine and perfect. Better than ordinary.
You live in a fairy tale world for a few days. You do everything together. You explore new places; you try new things; you do nothing at all. You are both in a bliss so pure and powerful that you forget about time and the fleeting nature of the visit.
Then, one day, your phone chirps at you to check into your flight. And it dawns on you. You must leave this paradise to return to the cold, icy water of distance. You have to get yourself back to a place you desperately do not want to be.
You break the news softly to her. ‘So, it looks like my flight’s on time.’ Her smile drops silently from her face. You look down. Reality penetrates the rosy facade of the visit. Distance bears down on you both.
The peak of the pain is the drive back to the airport. You make small talk. You try to not just dwell on what’s about to happen, but you know it’s unavoidable because shortly you will be kissing her like you’re not going to be able to again for weeks–and it’s a true simile.
Tearfully, you share a quiet moment in the car next to a sign that shouts:”Immediate drop-offs only. No standing!” You know you’ll see her again–maybe soon, but not soon enough. And you dive back into the black sea of distance.
You do this distance because you love your person. You do it because you need your person. And you’d do anything for your person.
The hours alone on the cramped, sky-bus called a plane are all worth the 48 hours together.
You do the distance also and primarily because of the invaluable someday just beyond the approaching horizon. The someday when the distance is vanquished. No more departure lane goodbyes. No more empty beds and solo flights.
Because someday you will be together without three time zones separating you two, you go the distance. Because someday you will share every small, soft moment of joy together, you go the distance. Because of love, you can, will, and do go the distance.
And someday, you will approach the departure lane with your person and you will both go some distance together. And, in that moment, you will come to realize you never did the distance alone though you were alone. When you do distance with your person, you are just two travelers taking a long journey through the empty valleys and prairies of Separation in order to get to Together.
And someday comes suddenly. So, you hold on and keep pushing on towards your Together.