Relocating to a new country always involves the usual challenges of loneliness and an unnerving disconnect from the known to an overwhelming anxiety of the unknown…and she was no exception.
She often thought of life back home where there was never an empty moment. In comparison, it was far too quiet here. No one was pottering around in the kitchen, no friend was excitedly sharing their day, no one had just dropped in unannounced and nobody was being a couch potato as she barked at their laziness. There was no one arguing over which channel to watch and nobody was blaring the music as she lectured them on respect for the neighbors. For back home two meant company and three (or more) was never a crowd, it was a party. 24/7; conversations never ran out, although occasionally the food and drinks did.
It was with these thoughts that she drifted to sleep that night and as a new dawn pulled up outside her window; she chose not to see it. She missed family and friends in another country, of lives in another space. Lives that would soon learn to live without her as she would have to learn how to live without them. Life had taught her many lessons and one she had chosen to learn was that long distance relationships never last. Of any kind. They just don’t. They die a natural death with time.
Her first day included a drive through the city, some basic shopping, a fancy lunch, a breathtaking evening drive by the lake under a sky brimming over with stars; truly perfection beyond this had still to be witnessed. “I survived a day and I am happy, she thought. “Thank you so much”, she hugged her husband.
Just before bedtime, almost out of habit, she reached over to her phone and dialed her best friend. The phone was answered even before it rang…. “Where the f#@k are you?! You know we don’t have your number. After all the lectures you gave on courtesy and respect. Why didn’t you call?! It’s been 36 hours. Are you crazy! The weather is so awesome here though, we really miss you! Yesterday for the first time we tried cooking that chicken you used to make, it turned out ok, not as good as yours, I saw that new flick too, it was outstanding, you just have to watch it. I caught the matinee show, my weekends are all screwed up, I’m back on afternoon shifts, I hate it and you know what…. “What?!” she said excitedly, hiding the tears streaming down her cheeks. For all at once, instantaneously it was like the doorbell had rung, pots had pottered in the kitchen and there was music that was blaring from television channels which screamed across several hallways. It was magical as her friend continued to share the past 36 hours with her. In this moment, two worlds became one.
Notes from my desk: There is no quotient of distance between family and friends. Albeit the clock does tick, as it rightfully should, or we’d all be stuck in a moment. And yet do take the time to connect. Pick up that phone and call that loved one….right now. Write an email; send a postcard, type, Skype, text or chat. FaceTime, anytime, every time. Do whatever it takes to get reconnected. Show you care; share your life, listen to theirs. Thankfully I chose to unlearn a self-believing myth. Long distance relationships do last. Today I chose to have one.