You’re waiting at the train station, the anticipation that’s been building for the past few weeks pumping feverously around your body as you stand there eagerly, peering down the track wondering why it can’t be here already. The last few seconds of a wait that has been weeks on end, somehow becoming more intolerable as time seems to slow down the closer and closer the train gets.
It’s an amazing feeling, the reunion, having seen three or four weeks slowly trudge past since the last time you were together; having to make do with phone calls and text messages and online messaging because of that all too familiar reality that stands between you; the distance.
But for the moment that can be shelved because the train is approaching and it stops beside the platform, that warm and tingly sensation spreading through your being because you know your partner is inside, dying to see you just as much back.
The reunion itself can be bittersweet; that long awaited hug and kiss that lasts for what seems like forever, languishing in the warmth and familiarity that is so overdue but even as you stand there, enjoying the touch of your partners body and the sweet whispers that pass between you, you know that only too shortly it will all be over again. Standing in the exact same spot saying and waving goodbye.
This time that idea is forced onto the shelf, filing it away to desperately try and avoid it, not wanting to think about it in this moment of happiness; you are together again, enjoy it while you can, with almost a feeling of having to ‘live in the moment’, because inevitably that farewell will come and is a constant weight on both of you.
Being caught up in a long distance relationship can be such a solitary experience, and quite a common one with social media being such a prominent part of life, it is easy to strike up friendships with people in different cities or on the other side of the world, or meet like minded people through online dating and the problem soon emerges when feelings develop and connections are made.
You decide then that you should meet, having built a foundation on endless emails and text messages and quite quickly you have decided that this is the person you are interested in, rather than someone more local and closer to you. Suddenly you are not interested in anyone else, you don’t want to meet someone at a party or in a club; you want the person a few hundred miles away and suddenly you think you could manage it; you both could. Long distance can’t be that bad, surely.
And once you’re in, you’re in. You’re committed and soon the feeling of everything being unfair sets in. It’s not fair you can’t meet up on the weekend, go to the cinema and out for a meal whenever the feeling strikes you. It’s not fair you can’t get a cuddle whenever you want one, that you can’t spend every Sunday lazing in bed together or watching something in front of the TV on the sofa. It’s not fair that you have to wait every few weeks to see each other and that you have to make do with those phone calls at night or typing away on MSN until the early hours, why can’t you just be closer? Why not?
Because you made that choice, you both did and now you have to make do. And you will, because those few days you do get to see each other, or those odd weeks where you’ve both got some time off from work or college, are just the best in the whole world. You get to hold each other’s hand and talk face to face, well into the night until the early hours but this time you don’t care, you’d stay up all night because these are the moments you wait for, when you can be alone together and enjoy each other, make each other as happy as you have ever been and that’s when you realise it’s worth it. More than anything else and anyone you have ever dated before, because in these moments nothing can touch you, either of you as you lay in each other’s arms and the reasons are clear why you carry on.
There might be frustrations, like you can’t have all the special occasions together that you’d like. Birthdays, Christmas’, maybe even anniversaries because of family and work commitments, maybe there are even plans to do something with friends when you had planned on booking something for the two of you, and then there are arguments and disagreements which are even harder because these usually take place over the phone. Text messages are taken the wrong way and again you wonder why everything seems so hard, why everything has to be so difficult.
But lying back in bed together, looking into each other’s eyes; none of that seems to matter. None of the arguments or the tears because this is what makes it perfect. This is what makes you carry on, makes you think about what it could be like, one day, when you’re together properly, because it will happen. You will get there, one day.
After a couple of days together, a few hours, or even that special week, with your time spent cuddled up and visiting friends, doing couply things together and making each other smile wider than either of you can remember, that idea that was shelved earlier, the one that both of you have tried desperately not to think about soon dawns upon you and its time, again, to leave. The final few photographs out of the hundreds already taken, are of sad faces and mournful looks.
Belongings are gathered in silence and the journey to the train station is mostly spent in silence, with a few light touches and hands linked only by fingertips. That weight from before is back, weighing down even heavier than before, if such a thing is possible. It’s going to be weeks again before you see each other, and tonight will be spent in bed alone, with no one to cuddle or to whisper beautifully in your ear.
At the station tears are fought back, the final goodbyes are uttered and you tell each other to be strong, that it won’t be for that long, after all. Only a few weeks. Just a few weeks. But you both know it won’t feel like that tomorrow, that it doesn’t really feel like that right now. It feels like an eternity. You kiss each other for the last time and then the train arrives.
You wave it off, watch your partner at the window slowly disappear from view and then you’re alone once more, standing there watching long after you should, long after the train has gone but you stand there all the same, wishing for it to come back. You know it can’t, but you wish for it all the same. You wonder how you’ll sleep tonight, with the memory of last night fresh in your mind it’s hard to think how you’ll manage, laying there with everything reminding you of having them there.
You start to curse the distance again, wonder why this happened to you, how you ever ended up here and how unfair it all is. You get your phone out to text that you miss them already when they’ve beaten you to it, and as you read the three small words the tears that you fought before come back and this time you can’t fight them, you don’t want to.
It’s so unfair, this whole thing and most of the time unbearable, but you cling to one thing, the only thing that ever seems to get you through and makes you wait eagerly to the next time.
This distance, it won’t be forever. It can’t be. It won’t be.