13. A thousand miles away


Coffee cup’s on the counter, jacket’s on the chair
Paper’s on the doorstep, you’re not there
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you’re missing

Springsteen, You’re missing

I came home to an eviction notice, my local supermarket closed down, and an emptiness inside that was more gaping than the silence in my lonely flat. I’d only been gone for just under four weeks.

The eviction notice was no big deal. I’d missed a rent payment due to my unexpected delay in getting home and an automatic eviction letter had been sent (I live under a rather weird tenancy contract). Like I said, it was nothing, I paid up and that was that.

The supermarket was more of a shock. I walked over to pick up some supplies and the entire thing was just a shell, stripped of everything including the shelves. Turned out they were building apartments on top of it, which required it to be closed… for a year. They promised a bigger, better version when they reopened in twelve month’s time, but that really didn’t help me now.

Like a lot of good little urbanites, I don’t own a car and, as the next nearest supermarket is two kilometres away, I realised I was going to be doing a lot of schlepping with heavy shopping for the next year…joy.

All of that paled into insignificance beside the gravity inducing depression I felt the moment I closed my front door behind me. I’d just spent the most incredible month with the love of my life and now we were back to a distance of 16,632 km; crushing.

I’d never felt depression like this. I had trouble getting out of bed some days. There was a worm twisting in my gut and a voice ceaselessly whispering in my head, you’ll never hold her again. I put on a brave face around others, but Inside I just felt desolate.

The one thing that helped was that, now we’d spent time together and both knew beyond doubt that what the other felt was just as real and unwavering, we felt confident in using the video function on Skype.

The first time we saw each other trapped behind screens, however, it was agonizing; almost worse than no contact. All it did was remind us of what we’d lost (at least for the foreseeable future), but slowly we got used to the new paradigm and began to grow more appreciative of what this pretty amazing tech was able to provide.

It was a gift really; it’s not that long ago that such a thing was confined to the realms of science fiction. I can well remember what it used to cost to keep in touch with loved ones overseas. Long distance phone calls were charged by the minute and the lines were terrible, with off-putting delays and annoying echoes. Compared to that, this was like having the other sitting right in front of you; plus it was free (an important factor when your conversations can regularly stretch out to five hours).

We eventually got back into the swing of our precontact life and, though it never goes away completely, the depression began slowly to fade. There were times when it was tougher than at others, but that was to be expected.

It was all made bearable by one simple fact; we both now knew, unequivocally, that this was the one; among all the potential meteors that might impact the outer atmosphere of the heart, this was the one that punched through, this was the one that came to stay.

Note for new readers: The numbered posts on this blog are my love letter to my future wife, Jersey girl  (that’s her real name – honest). Everything else I write about can be read as individual pieces, but the numbered posts are meant to be read in a specific sequence (as the numbers would imply).



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