"I know we've only known each other four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days. The first day seemed like a week and the second day seemed like five days. And the third day seemed like a week again and the fourth day seemed like eight days. And the fifth day you went to see your mother and that seemed just like a day, and then you came back and later on the sixth day, in the evening, when we saw each other, that started seeming like two days, so in the evening it seemed like two days spilling over into the next day and that started seeming like four days, so at the end of the sixth day on into the seventh day, it seemed like a total of five days. And the sixth day seemed like a week and a half. I have it written down, but I can show it to you tomorrow if you want to see it. "
Hopefully you recognize the absurdity above as a quote from the 1979 Steve Martin classic The Jerk. It's become a frequent reference for Carolina Man and me. First, in a silly way, it encapsulates the feeling of having known each other longer much longer than we have in actuality. Second, it pokes fun at the anguish we feel in being apart, no matter how relatively short the time. It's tough for me even to consider this a real long-distance relationship when he's just a four-hour drive away, and we've already managed to see each other twice since our first weekend together in Ohio (and I'll be going back to North Carolina on Thursday night!) In the past I've done the long-distance thing over continents and time zones, but this feels different. I can't imagine getting used to being apart, nor do I want to get to that place.
Even with Skype and texting and email and cell phones, nothing comes close to being with someone in person. So much is lost when there's physical space separating you. Carolina Man brings up this distant feeling every now and then, and there's sadness that comes with it for both of us. That's especially true on a day like today, when he's having a lazy Sunday and I'm stuck in a tiny town in Ohio for work with nothing on my agenda today except perhaps a trip to the drugstore, only to alleviate some of the boredom. I think, "Why can't we just be together?" It feels like torture.
But it's almost a sweet torture, both the agonizing longing for him and the ecstatic feeling of relief when I do see him again. I can hardly remember my life before him now, what it was like for something or someone else to be filling up all the spaces he holds in my mind and heart. I love that I'm still amazed at what's happening, that we haven't yet settled into daily life with one another. I love that he's the first thought I have when I wake up and the last thought I have as I fall asleep. And I will continue to count the days until I see my love again.