HIMMGF–Part 20–Waiting 3.0

A graphic flame is at the center of the image. A circle of negative space surrounds this flame.

Welcome back to “How I Met my Girlfriend!” Catch up on all the posts in this series here.

sex countdown has arrived !!! 143 days until sex— lesbian farmer jess (@koalatygirl) June 26, 2019

As you may have seen from my obnoxious Twitter countdown, Jas booked her flights to return to the States late this fall, hence this waiting update. Jas will be flying in on November 16 and staying until January 25. This will be her first Christmas in America, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! (And neither could my family!)

I am slightly terrified for her to experience a Michigan winter, especially if we happen to get another polar vortex of negative 50 degrees (-45 C) that both Jas and I (thankfully) skipped out on last January. She did buy some thermal winter gear for our trip to Prague, which hopefully she prioritizes when it comes to packing time, but knowing her, I won’t hold my breath.

Jas bought her tickets to Chicago like last time, a $700 cheaper ticket than the round trip to Detroit. After barely even mentioning the difficult logistics of getting from my house to Chicago in November, my good friend, Alicyn, offered to take me to the airport from her place on the west side of the state. Al and I had only become friends last summer, so her and Jas haven’t yet met (the only one of my friends who hasn’t yet). For both their silly and people-pleaser personalities, I haven’t any doubts that they are going to love each other. 

As for how I’ve been during this waiting period, I’m happy to report that things haven’t been too bad. As expected, February (the month I returned) and March were exceptionally lonely, but my friends were as available as possible upon my return, which helped a lot. My best friend arranged to surprise me the weekend I came home, traveling a couple hours for a sleepover with my best friend from high school. We’ve also been able to see each other a lot more during this waiting period, which is a huge contrast compared to Waiting Period 2.0, which had been the longest and loneliest. 

Even more important to me though, is the fact that Jas has had really great friends back in the UK for this stretch of time. Our friends, Riley and Chloe, have been picking Jas’ mood up every time they come over to enjoy a cheeky Maccies and shitty reality TV. And even though I get a tad jealous every time Jas gets to spend time with our friends without me, these two goofs have single-handedly made this waiting period the most bearable one yet, for both of us. Jas’ lows of feeling alone are fewer in between, and I feel so much more relaxed knowing people on that side of the pond love and understand her just about as much as I do. Having support from people we know online absolutely helps at times, but truly nothing heals heartache and loneliness than sitting with your friends and watching someone get booted off the love island. Plus, another British friend of ours, Harri, makes the trip down to see Jas from the north when possible, which has also been extremely great for her.

As for me, I’ve been spending a lot more time with my brother and sister this year, who I have always gotten along pretty well with. This year we’ve all been even closer in some ways. Now that my sister and her boyfriend have moved into an apartment together, my brother and I always enjoy a little family sleepover with them, accompanied by her boyfriend’s brother and their adorable cat too. Our late night drinking always ends up in conversations about politics and what-ifs, last time discussing whether or not a machine should replace biased judges on court rulings and deciding that said machine would also be biased because of its maker. 

Plus, I’ve been hanging out with my friend, Alicyn, a lot more now that she’s moved back to my side of the state. Those really lonely Big Sad nights have hit so much less than normal this year, yet even for a long stretch in April when the Big Sad did visit, I used my handy-dandy Twitter diary to let everyone know about my suffering. Alicyn texted me right away, asking for a day I was free that week and telling me she was going to come over. My shriveled heart tripled sizes grinch-style, and we spent the night doing puzzles and listening to Shawn Mendes on a loop. I really cannot overemphasize how healing it was to have someone show up for me like that. When she texted me she’d said, “I know I can’t make things better,” but she healed that kind of hurt more so than anyone else had.

Even with how much happier I’ve been these last few months compared to others, the distance and the ache attached to it is still always there. It’s a constant pain directly in my chest that’s dulled to barely a flicker, but no matter what I do, who I’m with, where I go, that aching flame never dies out. I spent last Fourth of July weekend with Alicyn and her family on a lake, and even though I’d been at my absolute happiest in months, I’d still be missing Jas. 

The missing Jas is not even just on a “wow I wish Jas was here” conscious level, but in a deep, physical–almost spiritual–way. I can feel in my body exactly where the missing her hurts the most. Right in the middle of my chest, between my ribs and lungs, but deeper. Like the reason it hurts is because something inside is hollowing out. Like the aching flame has already swallowed something that’s meant to be there. And between the games and the tubing and the beach and the laughs, the flame flickered brighter, spreading down my stomach and up my throat, washing over my body like gravity just got stronger. 

I love watching fireworks, but I can’t look at them without hurting. 

It’s so hard to acknowledge this pain, because once I do I can’t stop feeling sorry for myself. I love Jas more than anything, and I have for the past four and a half years, but it really doesn’t get any easier. 

I glided over water on the back of jet ski, wind throwing flyaway curls slick against my face, fingers almost sore from clinging to Alicyn’s life jacket. And sometimes when I’m enjoying myself like this–away from home, but not that far away from home–I can’t help but think, briefly, this is how easy things could be, before the guilt almost hurts worse than missing her does, or that the two are mixed so equally in my recipe for self-pity that I can’t even tell the difference. Then suddenly, any bad feeling–sorrow, anxiety, panic, uncertainty, anger, regret, fear–it all becomes about the distance. One way or another. Any inconvenience in my life becomes a problem that I can’t control. Rational or not.

This has been an ongoing battle from the very start. And yet, here we are four and a half years later. Someone recently asked me if I was ever worried that our relationship wouldn’t last once we break the distance. No not at all, I told them. We’re already in the thick of it, and we still choose each other, always.

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