I’m sorry you know. I’m sorry that we have grown apart. I’m sorry that we don’t have that closeness we used to have. It’s sad like you said. It hurts. Right now we are very far from each other and not only in miles. Idk what happened. I don’t know when it happened. Our lives are very distant from the other. I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe it’s what happens after so much time when everyone is going on with their lives. Our lives. Our work. Our time difference. Our differences. All the things we used to fight against are finally overcoming our efforts. It’s sad to see the other lose focus, to see the other not putting in the effort they used to. It’s sad when the “I love you” and the “I miss you” seem to be said to make up for lost time, lost conversations, to fill up the empty space. We feel it yes, but we fail to show their meaning. Maybe we got used to each other. Used to the other being there. Used to being in a relationship. I don’t see the spark we had back when we used to talk about our future. Now all I see is us waiting to see what happens. I can’t say I like it. I can’t say it feels ok but honestly, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to get back all that is missing. It’s sad not knowing. It’s sad having to ask myself if you want this enough because I don’t see it. It’s even more sad to think that maybe the same thought goes around in your mind. What about all that we talked when we made the decision of canceling the trip? Where are all the promises we made? Now they seem lost in a sea of text messages… just like our relationship. It’s painful to see love dying little by little every day. But if we wait til the end there won’t be a love to fight for, there won’t be a love to save. All we will have left is the love we killed and the relationship we will bury and forget about it with time. I didn’t want this to be just a few chapters in an unfinished book because we decided to stop writing the story we had together. If only I could turn back time…
“Suddenly someone comes along and insists in changing your life, making it a little less complicated. Little by little, day by day, smiling and trusting that the best is yet to come. Rare, special, the kind of person who are worth fighting for and if I had to choose an ending, it would’ve been one like this one, because you have taught me that life isn’t about turning a page of a calendar, but understanding that every page of that calendar is unique and unrepeatable. My heart is already too small for how great you are”
Those were the words I kept reading all over the internet. It was written in Spanish and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try and translate it or at least convey the same feeling. I read them and couldn’t help but to think of Ahmad. He is that kind of person. The kind that walks into your life and takes you by surprise.
He was the change in my life but also the constant balance to my chaos. My partner in the war against time and distance. With him, I understood that life was more than counting days. Life is about making the days of the calendar count because every single one of them is an opportunity to build something better and be one day closer to our goals, our future. I know that meeting him was a once in a lifetime occurrence. You don’t get that lucky twice.
Today is Valentine’s Day and everyone in a LDR knows it can be challenging. We know that love is not about a single day…but days like this one reminds me that as each page of a calendar change, we keep sharing details and making memories even in the distance. After all, love is about that. Its all in the details.
Note: The first part of the post (El Intercambio) is a loose translation of something I saw on different websites while doing an internet search.
September 20, 2017. I will remember this date for a long time. It was a little after 3am when communications started to fail due to heavy rain and wind. I sent txt messages to my closest friends and bf to let them know what was happening and that I didn’t know when I would be able to talk to them again.Hours later I was still taking glances outside my window watching tree branches, tv antennas and poles falling. By the time we could go out it was a disaster.
Hurricane Maria was a category 5 when it arrived to the island. It destroyed our power grid, more than 90% of our communications and we had no water service. No one was prepared for that kind of destruction even when we took the same measures we do every year: we get cash out of the ATM, we buy canned food, gas and water.
I spent the next few days helping around where I live. That’s something my dad instilled in us (my brother and I) since we were kids and I taught the same to my son. I work in a government agency that starts to work soon after this kind of event because we aid people in different ways and/or programs. We did our best since the beginning.
I have to say that it was heartbreaking to hear the stories and see pictures the first few days when I was assigned to work at a refuge. To see a wreckage where a house used to be. To hear people saying they only had the clothes they were wearing or that they only thing they were asking for was food. The second day a few of us were there with bags full of clothes because we didn’t know what else to do.
A week went by and you could see the panic in people’s faces. No electricity. No way of communicating with your loved ones to say you were ok or to find out if they were ok. No water. No money. People couldn’t use their EBT cards to buy food. If you needed gas you had to wait long hours in line and when we started running out of food… I had to go to another town to find a store and wait outside in long lines. We didn’t choose what to buy, we had to buy what was available at the price it was no matter how ridiculous.
That became the new normal. Government help was taking too much time and everyone was desperate. It wasn’t easy to see a family sitting outside of the disaster that looked to be their house before Maria. All I could do was work hard to help people and wait. A lot of people forgot that we were having the same situations at our homes and we did our best to forget about them while we were supporting others. Not long after what happened, people started to flee the island in search for help, opportunities or to stay with relatives after they lost everything.
After time asking myself if I still had a bf (haha) I managed to call a mutual friend. I didn’t have internet until recently so I could only txt my s/o through mutual friends who became our personal messengers (thanks to my Sis and Sean) or after I became a master of borrowing Wi-Fi. Turns out he was searching for news on social media and even messaged people to get news of my residence area (best bf ever!)
I received a lot of support messages on social networks from friends, acquaintances and even a phone call from a dispatcher to verify my well-being. Turned out a friend from another country opened a case for me and my family after not being able to contact me.
A few months have gone by. There is a sense of normalcy in some places. You drive around, work, go to the mall, buy a few things… as the saying goes, life goes on. Still, you see reminders everywhere: the blue tarps on rooftops, vegetation and debris on the side of the roads, towns with 0% electricity, people charging their electronic devices in the mall. For now, this is the new normal.
Days are special because we give them meaning. We celebrate on different occasions and share those days with the ones close to us, the ones we love. Throughout the years we have celebrated Thanksgiving Day as a day to remember to be thankful for all we have (for life itself) for all we’ve accomplished and the family and friends we have. This year I have many things to be grateful for.
I’m thankful for life…after all we have been through here. For the family I have and the family I chose because they never cease to amaze me and support me in every decision I make (they know who they are). For an amazing job that allows me to help others, to spread a little kindness.
I’m thankful for Love… Four years ago (November 23, 2013) someone told me I was his girlfriend and I laughed at the joke. Today I celebrate one more year of shared jokes, many calls, countless text messages. Another year of learning to love across the distance, of walking through the storm together where he always takes my heart to safety.
There aren’t enough words to say how everyone touches your heart in their own way but their prints stay with you forever. For another year of shared memories… I’m thankful.
A secret is something we don’t want others to know. Something we decided it was best to be kept hidden. Sometimes that something is our relationship. Those who decide to keep their relationship a secret will give you a hundred reasons why they have to. Fears, family, religion, culture… they all play a role in that decision.
I am one of those persons. I kept certain details of my LDR secret for some time because of a few reasons. I was (still am) afraid of people judging on my kind of relationship. My bf had his reasons too so we decided it was for the best…even when there are times I wish it was just like a normal one.
Last week. I keep a picture of my bf on a shelf in my cubicle at work (the why is a story for another day). I was working on a case and this old couple looks at the picture and one of them says “it’s so nice that you have a picture of your husband here, he is very handsome”. Before I could say he wasn’t my husband, a coworker adds “she is very in love with her husband”. After the couple left my coworker walks to my desk, looks at the picture and says “remember when I asked and you told me he was your adopted son? I always thought he looked too old to be adopted”. We both laughed and I told her I was sorry, but people wouldn’t understand.
That’s when I remembered that a few months ago I went to Macy’s with my mom and like she always does, we stopped at one of the perfume counters. She saw the Dubai edition of one of the perfumes and joked about how that perfume was “arab like your bf”. Of course that caught the attention of the saleswoman who couldn’t help asking about it.
A few months ago. The saleswoman walked over to us smiling but I could notice how her face was changing during the conversation. What follows is what I remember about the conversation at Macy’s between all 3 of us because my mom is less worried about people judging and keeping secrets:
Now? Every time something like this happens I lose a little bit of confidence. While there are times I tell myself that I would like to be able to tell everyone…there are still things that scare me (and my bf). We still struggle with those fears, family, friends, differences in culture… But when it is wise and safe to risk it? Is it worth it? Would we regret it? While it is true that we should always be proud of the person we are with, and we are, we are still afraid of the backlash we might receive.
Not everyone is meant to be great and go on adventures. Some people are only allowed to dream their wholes lives and maybe I’m one of those people who are not meant to wake up. Life is full of opportunities but they are not for me, maybe I’m supposed to help others to see where those opportunities are and grab them. Giving is in my nature. I do not love thinking in what I can get in return, but I do love expecting to build beautiful things that will last forever.
People like me, we want to be the architect of someone else’s life, someone else’s dream. Not because I think they need me to design a life for them, but because I think they deserve the best they can get out of life. The life I feel I will never have.
People like me think everyone we love is made of stardust and we see how they can be a shooting star… so we build them up and make them shine knowing we are allowed only to wish upon that star as we see them light up the sky if only for a second before they are gone from our lives.
I’ve never felt I have a place where I belong. I don’t even think this world is made for people like me…but we sure try to make it perfect for someone else when we love them as much as I love.