Here at Our Thursday we have decided to do monthly themes in addition to our usual writing. This months theme of course is Valentine’s Day. Here is my submission…
It was February 14th, Valentine’s Day, and the plane just touched down on the runway. The scorching southern hemisphere summer was immediately apparent with the sweat stains of even the most ‘cool’ passengers. I plodded through customs with the same dejected look that I had been wearing for the last week. After picking up my very large backpack and very large suitcase, I waited in front of a shifty looking elevator which is supposed to deliver my even larger bicycle box. I stared vacantly through the closed elevator door, through the terminal behind it, over the Andes on the horizon, and into the past ten months that had defined my life in a more profound way than anyone could have ever asked for.
We met in a cigarette smoke filled club in a picturesque beach town. In an effort to prove to my American friends that I understood how a south American dance club works, I opened the front door, walked immediately towards the dance floor, and never turned my head. As the sea of dancers moved out of my way, I was introduced to a shining star that glowed brightly from ear to ear and had the face of someone who could read your mind, and I think she did.
“Ensename Salsa” I blurted out in an obscene version of Spanish. We danced, I forgot about my friends, we taught each other about worlds neither of us had known, we rubbed noses, shared our sweat, and dominated the dance floor as our vibrations rattled the nerves of all those around us.
The next day we shared a four person bicycle and crashed into a coffee shop. She joined my traveling companions and I for a day of adventure in the trees as we swung from giant tree to giant tree. We shared a spooky hotel with blood stains on the ground. I shared my already bad jokes in a language that I barely know. Two days later, we parted ways, sharing contact info and giving ‘small hugs’ to say “It would be great to see you again, but I know I have to say that, understanding that we live on other sides of the world and likely it wont happen.”
One month later she visited me at my apartment in Argentina and we had annulled those bull-shit ‘small hugs’. I learned about a person that defied all my preconceived notions regarding the opposite sex. We spent a week together in close proximity and life had never been so good. We talked for hours and would miss entire days of sunlight as we philosophized in our new language of love that we were developing and danced the night away. But again, she had to leave, and we parted ways yet again but this time we shared a more meaningful hug that was to say “I am so glad this happened, but again I know what our future holds and unfortunately it will be tough for us to share those futures.”
One month later, a friend and I spanned the width of South America to show up on her doorstep with no plans other than for me to stare into those eyes that had taken over my mind and given me the chance to love as I have never loved before. At 25, I was a child again in her arms and in her presence. We scampered up and down the beaches, the dance floors, and the karaoke dens, demonstrating to the world that together we were unbeatable, and we were. We went to the stars and looked down on the world that we controlled. The night before I left this final time, we embraced for hours, not talking, just sharing our inaudible thoughts. The future was more clear than ever now as my departure to the northern hemisphere loomed over my head. After three monumental and memorable meetings with the girl of my dreams, I had to runaway as I have done so much in the past. But this time I did not want to runaway, and it pained me to think that my life could not allow this thing that brought me so much pleasure, to materialize as we both envisioned.
Over the course of the rest of the year this long distance relationship slowly burgeoned into an actual relationship. Despite our recent failures with distance in our relationships, we persisted. We shared more and more about ourselves and our actions. We talked for hours and hours most days. I could not get this girl out of my head. On the first day of snow in england, I ran out in my underwear and made a snow angel for her. I cut a huge L and K into my lawn. I gave her a personal Elvis karaoke session. I took two spanish classes. I did a report on her countries national dance. I told her everything about me and whatever she asked, I told her. I wanted nothing to be hidden.
I struggled to not think about what this girl did every night that she danced in her sultry and seductive way with those big dark eyes staring at someone else other than me. I learned to not care because with a distance relationship, you need to take certain things for granted. If I deciphered all the innuendo that I read on her facebook page, I would assume the worst. What I cared about were the moments where it was just us interacting together and not through some proxy like facebook or videos. So whatever she would be doing on her countless nights on the dance floor that she loved to brag about and which she never showed me any pictures from, it was not important to me since I believed that the strong connection we felt now, would be obliterated once we were in front of each other and a whole new world would be revealed to ourselves.
Then, a week ago, she saw what appears to be a very incriminating video of myself. Although the video may appear to suggest the worst, the worst never happened, not n the slightest. I have never cared about someone so much as this girl in south America, and after such a long and arduous and mutual effort, I cannot even think about destroying what we have built so carefully. But in a relationship that requires you to feel and live through electronic images to stay current on the other, false evidence like this can be more than damning. How can I ask for trust and confidence with that staring her in the face? I know I would freak out as well if I saw the same thing with her, but ultimately I would have to believe whatever she said since that is all that I know. If she lied, I would know. If I am lying about this video, she would know. People who know me, know that I cannot lie.
With a week to go, our plans to circumnavigate south America and seize the day and night and each other at carnival in Rio, have been rinsed away. My half year vision that I had worked so hard for and committed so much to and changed so many things for, had evaporated in front of my eyes. Since the video incident, she has not talked to me and has ignored my pleas for compassion and resolution.
I snapped out of my blank stare as the elevator opened and out came my obscenely large bike box. I walked with a very heavy backpack on my back, a small backpack around my front for counter-balance, my left hand pulling a large roller suitcase, and my right hand pulling an awkward bike box that keeps dragging on the ground as I go over little bumps in the ground. The sweat was overwhelming and I was glad that I was surrounded in backpacks to hide the sweat stains that they were creating.
I got settled in my new apartment, pieced my bicycle together, then went for a ride where I intended to get lost for many an hour so as to get to know my new city in life and figure out what to do next. I did not have the thing that I knew would give me the strength and will to dominate this city and this continent. I chuckled to myself as I pondered the future, thinking back to this moment in time, the Valentines Day I would never forget. I chuckled at the fact that I had learned to feel true love through the intangible ether that linked our vast divide, and ultimately, it was that divide that destroyed our love with pre-conceived notions, erroneous conclusions, and self-inflicted broken hopes. And the best (worst) part about it, is that we never saw each other again to try and understand each other in real life and not in the virtual one.