Much of my lonely journey home from our glorious holiday was spent on a tearful phone call with my long-suffering sister, snivelling my self-pity and hands free, broken-hearted pain as I headed back down the motorway and She flew back across the Atlantic. When I arrived home to my shared house, my room seemed more empty and silent than usual, even though She had never been there. I unpacked in a daze, acutely conscious that She was out of contact, by now on the nine hour flight to Chicago, her last stopover before flying home to Michigan.
It wasn’t until that evening that I managed to snatch a few precious minutes with Her as She waited for Her plane to board and by then I felt as drained as She looked. It was wonderful to see Her again, just the sight of Her tired smile lifted my spirits in a way I’d never have thought possible only moments before. But even then I was getting the sinking feeling that this is all that’s left now, after the joy of the last all-too-brief few days in Her presence it already didn’t seem enough.
She called as soon as She arrived at the local airport to let me know She was home safely and then I sat in miserable limbo until well after midnight before She finally called again, exhausted but delighted to be reunited with Her daughter, to say…well, what was there to say but, “I love you. I miss you. Goodnight my darling.” and then the connection broke, along with one more piece of my heart.
This was going to be a lot harder than I had ever imagined.
Returning to work the following morning was supposed to be a welcome distraction, at least during the day, from the ache of missing Her, but it was not to be.
The first song playing on the radio when I walked in? Supertramp’s Breakfast In America, its cheery refrain of “Take a look at my girlfriend, she’s the only one I’ve got” nearly proving too much for my frazzled emotions and I only narrowly avoided bursting into tears there and then.
And as if that wasn’t enough, barely two hours into the first day back, my wrist made a horrible little crunch noise and a bolt of pain shot up my arm. It immediately became obvious that I’d once again aggravated an ongoing tendon injury and I was subsequently signed off work by the doctor for a month with suspected carpal tunnel syndrome, pending tests and possibly surgery.
The only upside of this was that I was now free to chat to Her for as long as She’d have me, which turned out to be for as many spare moments either of us had in any given day. I wasn’t the only one feeling the distance now, it seemed.
We fell into a daily rhythm for that whole time, starting with me joining Her as She had Her morning coffee in Michigan, sitting out on the patio, listening to the birds clearing their throats for the big opening number. We’d chat as the sun, high overhead here, slowly broke free of the darkness and made skeletal silhouettes of the tall trees in the wooded valley behind Her house and then I’d chat with Her daughter while the two of them waited for the school bus. I was already getting to know and become fond of this bright and charming little girl, with whom I was by now regularly having lively, funny and sometimes hysterically nonsensical conversations and who was apparently very keen on the idea of starting a new life in England.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention, what with all the crying, angst and heartbreak; we now knew without a single doubt that we could not live without each other and had set plans in motion for Her to move here at the earliest opportunity.
So that we could get married.