Long & Longer Distance

Early morning light streams through the cheap blinds shielding my boyfriend’s room from the reality of day. My phone buzzes softly and I squeeze my eyes shut, fingers crossed it hasn’t woken him up. His sleepy hand stretches over me to unplug my phone from the charger and lets it fall softly next to my head.

I see what’s on the screen, quickly slipping the email notification and my increasing anxiety under the cotton-clad pillow.

Cameron’s slight snore returns to signal his sleep, and I breathe easier.

Out of sight out of mind, except I’ve never been good at bull shitting myself. It’s an unavoidable and ever-looming conversation: the long distance becoming even longer.

Four weeks is what we’re used to: sometimes more, sometimes less. Four weeks is the time it takes to grow out a horrific haircut. Four weeks is the Michigan difference between mid-summer and a foot of snow. Four weeks is optimistic. Four weeks is manageable.

Except those four weeks are turning into six months soon.

I won’t ever be ready.

Come January 7, I’ll be making the trans-continental move to Barcelona, Spain. I’ll be saying bon voyage to many of the comforts of home, and even though Delta has increased the amount of baggage I’m allowed to bring, I’m not confident that my long-term relationship will fit. Although I’ve seen the power of Facetime calls and improved communication keep a couple together across far distances, I’m nervous that my relationship may get lost on the way over the Atlantic.

Under the weight of suppression (and the pillow case) that I hid the truth under: reality is creeping out. Studying abroad is the opportunity of a lifetime, and yet the only thing I’ve managed to pack is this mixed bag of emotions I’ve been dragging around with me for the past couple of weeks. The online course catalogue for Spain sits blinking at me; offering endless global perspectives studies, boundless travel journalism opportunities, countless international business courses, and one, broken hearted, college student.

Gallivanting across boundaries and along the coastlines of Europe seems like a far-off dream, but terror accompanies any thoughts of boarding that looming one-way flight: leaving my comfort zone behind on the tarmac.

Fear of judgement and expectations abandoned: I’m completely unsure if I actually want to go. I’ve never been a home-body, but being away from everyone and everything I’ve ever known for six months seems too daunting to be real. Long distance relationship and any other possible fears aside, I know I have to go.

I’m sure as my take-off date draws nearer, those nerves will melt into something less teary-eyed: the possibilities of exploration becoming limitless as the airport fades from view, but for now I’m reserving seat 23B for my insecurities.

Even after all the Edgar Allen Poe level-darkness that some hours bring, I don’t doubt that my long term relationship will survive this new journey. The future we talk about so often has wiggle room for this six months that we’ll be in opposite time zones. Growing with each other sometimes means moving apart, only to let the distance pull us back together again. As the great and powerful Winnie the Pooh would say; “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

And on that note, I’ll go back to pulling my hair and heartstrings out as I complete my Visa application.

Alexa, play River and Roads by the Head and the Heart.

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