Hi gang this post will be sad. Read all “How I Met My Girlfriend” posts here.
Jasmin is back at her home in the UK, and the days have been dragging since. We video chatted the day her plane landed—Jan 26th–and overnight the space between us re-emerged. The sound of the Skype ring struck an ache in my chest, growing a lump in my throat. Just one night—mere hours—and everything had changed again, from toasty mornings and warming my toes on her skin to my cold-tipped nose and peeling back the covers an hour after my alarm. I remember waking up and hating when her sleeping body rolled too far to the other side of the bed, and then moving my pillows closer to her when I returned to our bedroom with two coffee mugs. It’s back to just being my bedroom again.
Jas got a lot of things to bring home with her, mostly seasonal chocolate and six Bath & Body Works 3-wick candles (yes, six). Fitting these items in her suitcase with a winter wardrobe simply wasn’t possible, let alone making the 50-pound weight restriction, so she had to leave a bit behind. That’s typical for our returns. This year I got two new hoodies and a couple shirts out of the deal, which is comforting to wear and nice to keep. But everything else she left behind brings the lump back to my throat.
I returned home at 2am after dropping her off at the Chicago airport. I stepped over a mound of discarded items: an empty perfume bottle, a bra she found too uncomfortable to care about anymore, worn-down slippers, a pair of leggings with a hole in the knee. I don’t know when I’ll throw them all out.
I cleared her nightstand of candy wrappers from our last night in our room. She left bobby pins there and coffee rings overlapped on the white tabletop. I don’t know when I’ll wipe them away.
The dresser she used has ashes on top of the battered wood from where the remains of her incense sticks missed the ceramic tray, and she left the last package of Pop-Tarts in a box there for when we got hungry late at night. I don’t know when I’ll dust the ashes or finish the box.
She left reminders of how easy and blissful we had it for those two months, and I cry every time I discover a new one. Sometimes I just keep crying about the old ones that I haven’t taken care of yet. Which is most of them.
Most of the people close to me checked in and offered support. Some of them didn’t, and I’ll try not to hold it against them, but I already know that I won’t forget it. I forgot to brush my teeth that first morning of her being gone. I made it out of bed late and got back into bed early. I forgot to brush my teeth again. When I remembered, it was 1am, and I didn’t give a fuck about my teeth.
I don’t remember it being this hard in the past, but I’m sure it has been. When I left Jas last year, I was okay. Four months is a long time to be gone. I missed my family, my dogs, my friends. I missed my early-morning routines and showers in my bathroom. I missed Cheetos and Taco Bell and having my entire shoe selection at my disposal. I missed 5 o’clock sunsets, and those extra two hours of daylight in my American winter made a difference that I never noticed before. And living with her parents that long threatened any relationship I hoped to maintain with them. I went back to the States missing home more than I expected.
The comfort of home faded quickly though. I remember telling my sister that I was having a hard time sleeping alone. I remember last April being one of the most miserable times I’ve ever had in the past 5 years, where I held the sensitivity of PMS week for the entire month and cried at every inconvenience, trying desperately to recover from paying my taxes, my great-grandfather’s death, and figuring out how to be alone again. But the initial leaving itself wasn’t so bad that year. Definitely not as bad as this.
The first time I left Jas in 2016, I landed back in the US to text messages from her, saying how she’d spent hours in her room crying after returning home from the airport. “This is so stupid,” she told me. “I swear to god I feel like someone’s died.”
I’m currently on day three without her and writing this post is the most I’ve done with myself since she left. My dog followed me upstairs all three mornings and sniffed her side of the bed. He usually served as Jasmin’s alarm clock, stuffing his nose into the covers she wrapped around her head with soft wines. His massive tongue lapped up exposed skin when she peeped out from the duvet. Now he sniffs her side, pokes the lump of bedding with his snout, and looks up at me. “She went home, Ray.” He jumps up beside me and lays down with a huff.
Nights are the worst because going to bed alone is cold. I miss our nightly routines. Her head on my chest, my arm around her body, watching our latest Netflix binge until I got too tired and would tell Jas to take her medication. We’d swap the binge for Glee, a show we spent all year falling asleep too. I clicked the volume real low, Jas turned on her stomach, and my need to be so close to her always pulled my head to her pillow.
We traded spots guarding the suitcases with my mom at the bathroom airport after checking Jas in. The moment it became just the two of us, tears filled her eyes. Mine followed instantly. “We are going to be okay.”
We dropped off her checked bag before the final goodbye. My mom cried, “I hate this part.” They told each other that they loved the other, and I stood with tears already dripping down my neck waiting for my turn. People walked around us.
We held each other tight, cheek to cheek, my hand on the back of her neck. “We are going to be okay.” I had rehearsed it a few times leading up to this. I remember the way she cried into my body back in 2017, the tearstains she left in my shirt that day, the shake of her sobs, the what if I never see you again? “Every time we are here, we are okay. This time is not going to be any different, Jas, okay?” I felt the nod of her head against my cheek. “I am so proud of you for being so strong this year. You are going to be okay and so are we.”
She still asked, but it was different from last time. “I’m going to see you this year, right?”
“That’s right, love, you will. I’ll give you updates all the time on saving for the tickets and when I think I can get them, but I will be there this year. We’ll be okay I promise.”
I kissed her twice, trying so hard to commit that feeling to memory, the exact pressure and taste and warmth. I felt her tears spill over my hands. We said I love you too each other before she handed her passport and boarding ticket to the woman waiting by the security line.
My mom and I followed from the outside of the tape. I felt mucus slide down my throat amidst the sobs, gagging a few times in the process. I almost stopped to tell Mom that I needed the restroom, certain that the crying was going to make me throw up. But I couldn’t miss the last moments of seeing her, so I risked being sick right in front of the security tape.
From far back, I kept track of Jas via the wooly winter hat with a fluffy bobble on top that my grandma crocheted for her. Security stopped her and she spoke to them. After several minutes, she started getting a separate pat-down. Finally, she’d messaged me explaining her backpack and carry-on had been flagged for the three Bath & Body Works candles she packed there. She had to wait for the explosives team to ensure they weren’t bombs. After 40 minutes of security, and me crying on standby, she gave the thumbs-up for being cleared, and I waved my final goodbye.
When Mom and I made it back to the car, I grabbed an empty shopping bag, still unsure if I would throw up or not. We drove for 3 hours without speaking or turning on the radio. I was too scared of hearing a song and sobbing about it. Eventually though, I started falling asleep, so I turned the CD player on to the last disk in the player. The Jonas Brother’s album started playing “Black Keys.” It was one of the songs I put on a mix CD and sent to Jas in 2015. I sobbed.
If you want to jump-start my fund to be with my love again, consider donating $3 to the blog’s Ko-Fi page. For more “HIMMGF” content, become a patron for $1/month. This month’s bonus post is about our edible experiences during Jas’ stay.
I will update the order of HIMMGF blogs after writing more posts of her stay in the US 2019-20, this was just too fresh in my heart to not write about first. Stay tuned for happier content.