I learned all I needed to know about Her in the first few seconds She spent in my arms. Knowing from the moment our eyes met, as She looked up at me after that long-anticipated, fierce embrace at the arrivals gate, that here in this anonymous airport lounge was where I had finally found the One that completed me.
We see people in situations like this all the time, emotional little family groups, seemingly oblivious to the ebb and flow of other travellers around them, welcoming or waving off friends and loved ones at railway stations, airports and bus terminals everywhere. We may smile, seeing their happiness at being reunited, or feel their sadness in taking leave of family, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer relief I felt as I picked up Her suitcase, took Her hand and, glancing down at her every few seconds to check she was actually real, walked on air back to the car.
In this dreamlike state, marvelling at how natural and right this all felt, I managed to make it to the car and get Her luggage in the boot before I had to take Her in my arms again, feeling any lingering traces of stress from the last few days drain out of me and finally allowing myself to believe that She was here and it had all come true.
Even so, the whole journey back to the holiday park found the pair of us continually reaching for the other’s hand or simply taking reassurance in the occasional smiling glance that after all this time we were together.
She had come home.
We arrived at the chalet in beautiful sunshine and carried the cases inside, after which I can only assume we spent an eternity staring into each other’s eyes in wonderment, holding one another close and feeling the electricity of those first kisses. But as time has clearly moved on since then, it can only have been minutes, or maybe hours, until we could relinquish the hold we had on each other so that I could make a coffee and She could take a shower. To say I was happy would not even begin to cover how I felt.
She came out of the bathroom in Her robe looking fresh and beautiful and walked straight back into my arms…
That evening after dinner we took a stroll around the park, sitting on a bench by the lake completely lost in a world of our own, before returning to the sanctuary of our chalet and, by the time She fell asleep in my arms in the early hours of the next morning, we hadn’t been more than ten feet apart since She walked off the plane twelve hours earlier.
That holiday will stay with me forever. The endless hours spent just talking, gazing, touching, being together, just that alone would have been enough for me. But there was also a trip to the historic city of Bath, visits to a pub in Clevedon called The Moon and Sixpence that we adopted as our own, walks along the pier and, best of all, the opportunity to introduce Her to an old friend who was on holiday nearby.
We met up with him and his girlfriend at their campsite on Salisbury plain and in no time at all She had enchanted them with the same easy smile, charm and grace which had captured my heart from far across the Atlantic and I loved every minute of it. Watching Her talk and laugh with my friends gave me a feeling I can barely even begin to describe, other than to say that if I’d been any happier I think I may have just exploded.
Not only was it apparent that She was as besotted with me as I was with Her, it soon became obvious that She loved England’s countryside, history and architecture too, taking dozens of photographs to post on Facebook for Her envious friends back home.
One of Her status updates read:
“Three things I’m sure of; 1) I love this man. 2) I’ve fallen deeply in love with this country. 3) I will never comprehend roundabouts.”
Well, two out of three will do me for now.
Every day was a new delight for that brief summer of love. Waking up next to the woman who I had fallen so deeply in love with from such a distance was a luxury that seemed quite literally too good to be true. Of course that would soon be exactly the case, and I wasn’t the only one who realised it.
Another of Her Facebook entries said simply;
“Starting to feel the stranglehold of time”
For the final two days there was occasionally a melancholy between us that would manifest itself in the shedding of a quiet tear, in the extra intensity of an embrace, or in my reluctance to release the tight hold on Her hand whilst walking around the lake. We were both painfully aware that our bubble of happiness was about to burst.
She had to check in for Her flight at five in the morning so all Her packing was done on the final night (I would return to pack my stuff before driving home) and I can honestly say that I awoke that day to two of the most heart-breaking hours of my life. I cried for the entire journey to the airport, clinging to Her desperately outside the entrance, looking down into those stunning blue eyes for what seemed like the last time. I watched Her disappear through security and walked numbly to the car, where I sat and sobbed like a baby until I was utterly drained of all the joy I’d felt only days before.
It seemed so incredibly unfair. I’d finally found someone who was perfect for me, who loved me as intensely and joyfully as I loved them and now, after having confirmed every instinct and experienced that overwhelming love in person, having Her wrenched out of my life so brutally was a pain that was almost physical. I felt empty.
As I left the holiday park a couple of hours later She rang from Brussels airport, where Her flight changed for the long-haul to Chicago, using up Her thirty minutes of free Wi-Fi allowance to speak to me. We were so emotional that I think we both cried for the entire call and I remember shouting with a desperation that surprised me; “Find someone to talk to on the plane and tell them there is a man here who loves you to the moon and back!”
Then the fragile connection broke and She disappeared out of my life once more.