Have you ever had a long wait for something you wanted so badly it hurt? Have you spent minutes, hours, days and weeks in anticipation of some event in your future that only became more distant the faster you chased it?
If so, then you know how I felt for the next few weeks.
That strange, bipolar rollercoaster of emotional turmoil took me on a ride like no other I’d ever experienced; one minute I was deliriously happy, almost exploding with delight at the thought of Her coming here to spend time with me, the next I was getting upset over something as innocuous as Her having to work on my day off, or the fact that She was going to see a concert with friends that I should be taking Her to, or that perennial favourite, a failing internet signal, rendering the gigantic expanse of the Atlantic ocean an unbridgeable obstacle to our happiness.
The closer it came to Her arrival, the slower the time seemed to pass, until the best way to think about it was “if only the days we spend together take as long to pass as the days I have to wait before she arrives”, because otherwise I would have gone completely mad.
Not that we didn’t have things to occupy our attention during the whole torturous process of course; we had to organise the flights, check out currency exchange rates, book time off work, sort out accommodation and places to visit, and also arrange for Her daughter to stay with friends, as she wouldn’t be coming on this trip. All the usual things you normally do when planning a holiday together in fact. But doing it all from several thousand miles apart, that was the challenge. Searching the internet for last minute deals is all very well if you’re going to book something there and then, but if you have to wait for the planet to revolve around the sun for another five hours before your partner even wakes up, snap decisions become slightly problematic.
Nevertheless we managed to reach agreement on a place to stay, a quiet holiday park just outside Clevedon in Somerset (She would fly into Bristol airport so it made sense to find somewhere that was close by) and She booked Her flight for the beginning of August. We would have ten full days together.
The day She left home for Her twenty four hour journey across the timezones was one of the most exciting of my life at that point. I followed Her entire day, from when She left the local airport to fly to Chicago, from where She would take an overnight flight that would land in Ireland as I got up the next day, the final leg taking Her to Bristol by air as I was traveling there by road.
I had enough time in hand to go to the holiday park first, filling up the fridge, unpacking, airing out the chalet and placing a bowl of flowers on the table (oh ok, it was a cut-down screenwash bottle from my car full of flowers, the chalet neglecting to provide a vase for the romantically inclined) before heading to the airport with a whole swarm of butterflies in my stomach.
Standing in the concourse with my eyes locked on the doors to the small arrivals gate, I still couldn’t help thinking this was all some kind of fantasy, that I’d wake up any minute and it would all fade from my mind, the events of the past few weeks having been condensed with dreamlike efficiency into those drowsy moments before awakening, only to dissipate in the cold light of day.
Then She walked through the doors.
The next minute She was in my arms.
I looked down into her stunning blue eyes.
I knew for absolute certainty at that precise moment.
This was coming home. This was meant to be.