And I still have the mug.
fortheluvofmerlin replied to your photo “Sometimes the sunlight hits my hair juuuust right and I am so fucking…”
-wants to hear story like we’re BFFs despite having only found out about this blog two weeks ago- -sits on seat’s edge- -big eyes- Yeeeeeesss?
So, as some of you know, husband and I long distance dated over the ocean for almost a decade before we were able to be together for keepsies. It was an…interesting, period of time. I certainly got to see more of the world than I ever thought I would, and I also learned I was capable of far more than I ever gave myself credit for. Like travelling 4000+ miles on a plane every six months despite a severe fear of flying, which I still possess to this day. But I also learned something else as well, which is that love is like tea. It can be dark and sweet, light and floral, invigorating, soothing, warm, cold, sometimes even bitter. But when you’re down and out, there’s no better feeling than the knowledge that for at least the next ten minutes, you can cradle warmth between your hands, take a sip of respite, and the rest of the world can go fuck itself.
Other British people know what I’m talking about, trust me, love is like tea.
But Love is also a choice. Oh hormones and attraction play a part in it sure, but those won’t see you forty years down the line once the excitement of infatuation dwindles. Heck it might not even see you four. But love, to us at least, is a conscious decision to say “this is the person(s) I love, sometimes it will be hard, sometimes we will annoy each other, but for now, every day, one day at a time, I choose to be with you until such a time that I do not or cannot.”
Not terribly romantic I admit, and doesn’t quite roll off the tongue the same way as “till death do us part”. But when you’re staring down the barrel of a 14-hour flight and your valium hasn’t kicked in and the only thing playing on the tv embedded into the chair in front of you is static, it’s oddly comforting to know you still think it’s worth it.
Anyway, I was flying over here to spend three months with him, living in his apartment. We reasoned that we should try and spend more time together than an odd week here and there if we were going to make a big decision soon about whether or not to carry on seeing each other, or whether or not we should part ways amicably and save ourselves the hassle of immigration (and they say romance is dead). So I quit my jobs, upped sticks and moved in with someone I’d only ever met ten times before, but was pretty certain I was deeply in love with but needed to be certain I could live with. It was fun, and we soon found a domestic rhythm to our lives that we hadn’t even realized we’d been desperately missing until we had it.
And then the time came for me to go home and the night before I tried to smile over the dinner table like I wasn’t being suffocated by the weight of a tangible grief and impending loneliness pressing in around me, and the rising sensation in the tips of my fingers that if only I could reach out and push back hard enough, I could slow down time and have one more minute with him.
Later that night I went to bed with my laptop and watched movies while he sat up, scribbling at his computer desk. I didn’t pay it much heed, this was fairly normal for our routine. As much as we like each other’s company, we are fairly independent of each other. We had to be, given the nature of our relationship. And secretly I was glad to have some time alone to cry and collect myself before he came to bed.
The next morning I woke up, and for a brief moment was so happy to find him beside me, before I remembered I was due to get on a flight in six hours, and it could be another year before I saw him again.
But I got up, tried to hold myself together and because I wanted to email my friend who was picking me up at the airport, reached for my laptop. Which was when I found, this:
[A flashcard covered in hearts and a little sun which reads:
Morning My Dear Let Us Play a Game (Which May Seem Queerer) Find Me In The Spot Where Your Face Is Clearer, Walking Down Our Only Hall Will Get You Nearer, Helo oh Help I seem To Be Stuck in the…]
“Mirror doesn’t rhyme with nearer!” I shouted as he ran into the kitchen, happily picking up my little card because I secretly loved the little poems he would leave around the apartment for me, scribbled on scraps of paper, in the fog of bathroom mirrors and wedged between books.
“It does if you’re American.” was all I got in return, before the kitchen door shut and I went off in pursuit of the rest of my poem. So I grabbed my phone so I could take pictures and post them on LJ later because I thought it would be cute and worth keeping, toddled off to the bathroom, opened the medicine cabinet and:
[A flashcard covered in balloons which reads:
Hidden Under the Letter Horde, Here You Have Fought Many With Bow and Sword, Word, Work and Play This Place Adores, Goodness I will be Found Under the…]
For a brief horrible moment I thought he actually meant the never ending mail pile on his side of the office, which had become a common point of contention for us, but then the rhyme clicked in place and I realized he was referring to my Lord of the Rings archer character and I ambled off to the computer desk in the main room.
Snapped a pic for posterity and lifted it up to find:
[A flashcard covered in little flames which reads: It Is So Dark And Hot In This Cove, Here I Can Only Wish For A Sight of A Cookie Grove, Find Me Quick so I Can Flee Like An Animal Drove, It Is So Dark and Hot In This Evil…]
“Honey…oven doesn’t rhyme with drove!”
“STOVE, IT’S A STOVE!”
“…yea okay get out my way”
[A flashcard which reads: Crap! I have Moved, What A Disgrace, Now I seem To Be In A Vast Knowledge Base, Words Upon Words Which None Can Be Erased, Come Quick I Am Hiding In The Top Shelf of The…]
At this point I was starting to become aware that this was not my typical poem hunt, and not just because there was so many of them, but because he was adamantly staying out of my way, barricaded in the kitchen. Nevertheless I turned to the book case,
said “FUCK” because all those shelves were double stacked, and began digging. And there, hidden in a copy of Terry Pratchett’s Feet of Clay on the page that reads “Words In The Heart, Cannot Be Taken” was…
[A flashcard with no decorations that reads: Yay! You Have Found Me, I Shall Cry WHOOPEE! I Knew You Would Do It All You Needed Was Tea, And Now I Must Say I Love You More Than I Could Ever Foresee, Fiona my love, will you marry…]
And that’s when I turned round and he proposed with a mug of tea.
We were apart for another year after that. But it’s now been eleven years since we started dating, and with the clarity of hindsight, I’d do it all again.