I am sun-smacked, exhausted, impatient for tangled limbs and the hum of fans cooling down bodies that have been isolated for too long.
The light at the end of the tunnel has always been this naggingly illuminated dot in the distance, pulsing, enticing a reach, only to pull back further once fingertips reach a certain proximity.
I’ve finally got my fingers wrapped round the edges.
The light is my love, and the rest of my life, and all the little things we will never take for granted.
One day I will look at him and think, “You’re still here. You don’t have to leave.”
And that will be everything I need.
I woke up feeling ILL AS FUCK, like hardcore. I won’t go into details. It’s not worth it. It’s over now. I slept it off. And when I woke up, I found out about Jamie’s visa application being approved.
HELLO, this is only the thing that’s been dominating my mind and our life for months now, and a massive hurdle has been reached.
Everything is MUCH MORE MUCHIER. EVERYTHING IS REAL.
At first I was sort of numb, like “Okay that’s a thing I knew would happen and now it has.” - but now that is has sufficiently sunk in, I am so impatient that I want to punch many things very hard with big thick gloves on until the world complies with my wish to make everything happen at once.
Instead, I am planning and typing and working diligently on what to do with myself to remain busy so that the time might fly. Planning everything.
He won’t get approval to move here until August or September. We could POTENTIALLY plan for a late fall wedding, but I am wondering if it will be too tight, or if we can even find a venue without booking a year in advance.
God fucking damnit there are so many decisions to finally be made and I am so intimidated by them all.
I spent a little while browsing wedding accessories and decor. We will be winking-and-nodding at Victorian styles (my dress has a definite Victorian twist) and themes while remaining ourselves. It will be a good mix. I’ve got good colors in mind.
I know it will come together, the way everything always does. I know it will be beautiful, because we deserve it, and it doesn’t have to be big and expensive to be beautiful.
I’d just like it to be the night right now, dancing with everyone I love, sitting beside him, knowing that when we go home together (and this is the point at which I just burst into very happy sobbing messy tears) I won’t have that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that is always there when I feel so happy and in love that I could burst - that we must inevitably say goodbye, and live in limbo, until we can be together again.
Because we’ll never fucking have to do that ever again. Over five years of periodic absence and distance will be in the past. We will go home together and just fucking exist - the way we were always meant to - and continue to live our lives. No more goodbyes.
Flashback to 2008, the summer Jame and I met. My brothers face is killing me, my mom ALWAYS looks like that in photos, my sister looks uncomfortable, all I can think about is how much thinner I look (ugh) and as Jamie puts it: “I look weird there, I’m much better looking now” - except I disagree because he looks adorbs all the times.
“Bella Bella Bella, I made you out of clay…But I really didn’t, cause you are made of fur.”
I just realized I make songs and sing them out loud all the time now like Jamie does. His are better though - like I mean, “Cocaine Horse” is a true revelation. I can’t even tell you.
He also likes to say “ooooh that (insert adorable animal here) is made of fur!” or “helloooo (insert adorable animal’s name here), you are made of fur!” all the time.
Oh well, he uses a lot of my words too - like “sreep” and “embows” - so I guess it about evens out.
Walking through the wet streets of Edinburgh on our way to the bridal shop I’ve dreamt of buying my wedding dress from for years, it feels like my skin is crawling with hyper-sensitivity. Every pain and ache in my body is amplified as misty rain drops sting my eyes and the fabric of my jacket sticks to my arms. Every conceivable thought that could pass through my mind does, on a loop, never ending, until it becomes white noise in my ears.
Words get caught in my throat like flies trapped in honey, sticking there in a tangled mess, until I’m choking and coughing them up along with the thoughts that swarm angrily behind my eyes.
The man I love tries to hold my hand - and I don’t want to, but I have to tell him to let me be. He knows me. He understands.
I swallow my panic and resume concentrating on not tripping over the slick cobbles beneath my feet.
At this point, my fiance Jamie and I have been together and weathered the distance between Detroit and Edinburgh for over 4 years.
We are no strangers to the old saying, “distance makes the heart grow fonder” - though in our case, distance is this infuriating thing that keeps us in a perpetual state of limbo as we anxiously await an opportunity to bridge the gap.
Did we truly know what we were getting into when we began talking all those years ago?
The internet made it possible for us to find one another through a shared love of The White Stripes, meeting for the first time in an online community for self-proclaimed Candy Cane Children.
I don’t recall exactly what was said, nor can I find the thread of conversation in which we first acknowledged each other. I remember he stated that he was looking to visit the States after graduating from university, that Detroit was one of his stops next summer, and could anyone suggest any fun things to do?
Eager to help, I started a private message conversation with him and told him all about the festivals and concerts going on that summer of 2008 that he should definitely plan for. It was an innocent enough way to start a conversation.
From there on, it’s hard to discern exactly how our relationship developed. We sent so many private messages back and forth that it seemed natural to start instant messaging one another.
We didn’t have webcams but we made videos of our every day lives and sent them back and forth, getting to know one another the best we knew how. I made him some mix CD’s with custom artwork packaged together with some little pieces of my life, he sent me love letters and little bits of his life in return. Eventually we began speaking on the phone, thinking of the future and telling people in our lives that we met someone special.
When I first started talking to him I recall saying something like, “You’d better be careful, you’re just the kind of boy I could see myself falling in love with.”
As time passed, I suppose we became quite careless in that respect.
It was July 4, 2008: the day Jamie was due to arrive in Detroit for the first time. I must have tried on about fifty different tops before I finally settled on one. I had smoothed my hair so frequently with my straightener that I feared it was too flat. I tidied my room, fussing over every single aspect of how my piece-of-shit flat might appear to a newcomer. A newcomer that I hoped was the man I had so easily fallen in love with from across an ocean.
The drive to the airport had been tedious, like trying to speed through water.
I parked my car and headed to where he told me he’d be waiting. I was quite early, but the screens around me told me his plane had arrived, so I knew he must be one of the dozens of people coming down the escalators across from the baggage claim. My eyes skimmed over each and every face as they descended, until I saw him.
He wore a black hoodie and jeans, a pair of headphones wrapped around his tufts of dirty-blonde strawberry hair, hands shoved in his pockets. I think he may have been whistling.
His eyes met mine. He pulled his headphones down around his neck. He dismounted the escalator and walked toward me, dropping his bag, arms outstretched. I fit inside them perfectly, content to know I was pressed against his chest. I tilted my head upwards and he planted a kiss on my lips.
It was the most simple, natural interaction - as if we’d been greeting one another like this for years.
I knew even then that this was real. That we were going to be together, in the flesh, for a month. That we loved one another and would figure out a way to make the distance between us work, to get to know one another the only way we knew how. That we had a legitimate chance.
Time has proved to be kinder than expected and we have proved to be strong in the face of adversity.
And airports have now become just another necessary evil.
Whenever anyone asks us how Jamie and I are able to cope with the trials and tribulations of trans-atlantic long distance love, the pressure and heartache, the answer is always the same: “We love one another. We have no choice.”
So after dozens of trips back and forth - precious sections of time spend together in blips on a line - we decided in the summer of 2011 to dedicate ourselves to one another forever. Thus began the overwhelming process of planning a wedding while simultaneously applying for fiance visa status.
While we plan to wed and live in the states, we hope to celebrate in both countries by bringing our two lives and cultures together, as well as ourselves. And of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try on wedding dresses during my latest trip to visit him in Edinburgh.
As always, my anxiety disorder complicates the process as I struggle to get out of my head during our walk to the boutique.
We meet Jamie’s mum on the street and head towards the shop as I try to push impeding thoughts and worries from my mind. He leaves me with a kiss and I head down the steps toward the dressing rooms with my future mother-in-law.
A lovely Irish woman squeezes me into a few not-so-stunning numbers before finding one she feels convinced I’ll love.
“You’ve got these wonderful curves girl, and I’ve got just the dress to accentuate them.”
She slips it over my body, pulling the corset strings into place while I make some comment about feeling like Scarlet from Gone with the Wind, until suddenly I realize how the material is hugging me in all the right places before cascading away from my hips…How the color is unlike anything I’d seen before, as if someone had modeled it after the creamy opalescent sheen of a pearl.
I try to hold back my reaction until I find myself in the room of mirrors, perched on top of a pedestal like a porcelain doll on display.
After a pearl-encrusted tiara and simple veil are added to complete the picture, I feel more certain. A few glasses of bubbly liquid brings it all to another level. The good kind of anxiety rises in my chest as I continue to study my reflection, champagne-flute in-hand, unsure of how I got here, yet completely elated. Floating.
My friend Vanessa’s mum, the shop owner, arrives to meet us. I note the same Scottish lilt that I’ve heard before in her daughter’s voice. She hugs me and insists this is the dress as I step forward and realize I’m fighting tears.
This is it.
After we leave with the promise to sleep on my decision, I head to John Lewis with Jamie and his mum, but I’m not present in reality. I’m lost in my head.
I fight off panic until we leave the shops, walking toward an Indian restaurant for dinner. Fat snowflakes obscure my vision and I feel I can’t breathe. We reach the restaurant and I head to the toilets to compose myself before coming back to the table, only to completely break down.
I profess my apologies, incapable of deciphering exactly what is making me panic, ashamed of my inability to comprehend my own feelings.
We get through dinner and soon depart, heading back to our holiday flat so I can call my mom. We laugh, we cry, we decide I should bring it home with me - because I can, because it fits me perfectly, because it’s everything I wanted.
I hang up the phone feeling elated before immediately succumbing to an overbearing sense of doom.
I can’t articulate how I feel or what I am thinking, I can only gasp for breath and cry as I choke down vomit and feel my chest caving in.
Jamie is so patient. He rubs my back as I try to breathe. He sits back when I can’t bear to be touched. He holds me tight when I can’t stop sobbing.
I fall asleep. I wake up. I try to talk to him, but it makes me cry harder. His patience is astounding to me. I contemplate horrific things and despise myself. I battle everything my brain throws at me. The exhaustion from it all is paralyzing.
Sometimes, I just don’t know how to process this shit.
I’ve since returned to Detroit with my dress packed neatly away in my carry-on.
I don’t know when I’m going to see my future husband again, but we have hopes for the spring.
I know we’re getting married. I know he’ll be moving soon, to be with me forever.
I know these things, but they don’t always comfort me in the interim.
Patience is required, but does not come naturally to me.
I am a pawn in this game of misfired neurotransmitters and we are at the mercy of time and space.
My mind is not rational and it never has been.
“hello, this is dog”
“hello, it is cold”