Tumultuous.

That’s the best word I have.

It’s that time again. I sat in the airport.

I’ve cried. I taken so many deep breathes I’m surprised I can’t fly myself home.

I think I’ve felt every emotion this trip:

Excitement, anticipation, longing, anger, frustration, boredom, contentment, happiness, anxiety and deep, deep love.

It’s been a strange trip for lots of reasons, but I guess all those feelings already say that .

Last night, I didn’t want him to leave me. He knew it, I knew it. We had a very small disagreement. He couldn’t understand why I was upset about leaving. He reeled off all that he’d done to make me happy. He said that this wasn’t the final time, so what was the problem. All I can say, is thank goodness I’ve started to read “Men are from Mars”. This situation could have been a chapter. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just see that I was upset because of how much I loved him, and why wasn’t he upset? But then the words from the book hit me and I just told him he had done nothing wrong. I just wanted him to know how I felt.

This morning he came to me, as always. He was tired and hadn’t slept much. He curled into me, wrapping his arms around me and our legs entwined. We made love then cuddled for a hour, watching things on his phone.

Throughout the day, he has repeatedly blown kisses and winked at me – much more than usual. He kissed me passionately repeatedly – again, more than usual.

After we ate dinner, I went to my room to finish packing….well, ok, I went to collect myself as I couldn’t breathe.

He followed and we lay again on the bed. He caressed my skin as we lay there in silence. He kissed me gently. We said nothing.

So maybe he doesn’t cry. Maybe he doesn’t overtly tell me that he will miss me. But I saw it and felt it in every extra kiss, look, touch.

I’m about to board the plane. I’ve not cried for half an hour. That’s progress I guess

Days 7 and 8: little

It’s the little things.

Grabbing my hand to cross a busy road and then moving me so I’m not on the side where the cars are.

It’s shouting me to come see a funny video he’s just watched.

It’s asking me if I’m tired/ok/good when we are out.

It’s checking I can swim – by making me demonstrate – before allowing me to properly swim alone in the sea.

It’s checking with the restaurant that the food won’t contain gluten.

It’s driving for hours just to show me all the beaches and beautiful places he knows I will love.

It’s sandwiching my hand close to his body when I grab his arm in a crowd.

It’s going to find a chair to sit with me outside when he was probably more comfortable on the bed.

*****

It’s late on Day 8 and I’m pretty tired.

I’ve had a wonderful couple of days. Yesterday we woke at 5.30am, ate, packed the car and set off on a road trip. Wildcard drove for hours and hours to show me some famous and stunningly beautiful cities in his country.

Today, we went to the beach and then he continued his tour, showing me a gorgeous marina and then taking us out for a dinner of fresh sardines and salad.

Tomorrow, I think we are moving on and he’s told me that we may go the long way back, taking in a few more places on the way home.

I’m so glad we have another week.

Trip 5, Day 4, 5 and 6

This recount is a little late.

The inevitable happened.

Seems like no matter what I do, or how I try to think, it will happen regardless. I guess my emotions need some kind of relief.

Positives from it: his mum knows he loves me. Whether he has openly told her (I doubt that) or it is assumed, I’m not sure. And as she knows I love him, this has to be a good thing.

I’m also certain that, dare I say once again, there will be no proposal. I also doubt there will be any discussion. He seems content with the status quo and the knowledge that we are committed.

I’m not sure if my fear comes from my own beliefs or that of others – “if he knew, if I was the right one, he would have already asked.” Defensive, positive me would say he already has. In theory anyway.

Regardless, it is the morning of Day 5 and it hasn’t happened so probably won’t. I’ve feared for his love, as I always do, and I’m now appeased.

******

It’s now the evening of Day 6.

It’s been an eventful few days considering I’ve stayed in the house.

I met his aunty, unexpectedly. He’s told me that it’s not his extended family’s business who he’s in a relationship with and that they would know when it’s the right time.

But she arrived and out I was rolled. I liked her. She was elderly but spritely and I could see she had a good sense of humour. She greeted me with a handshake and a Muslim blessing and said goodbye with lots and lots of kisses on both cheeks and an invite to visit her home. 😍 She didn’t speak English but it was ok.

Wildcard and I have had a tricky 24 hours since then. An honest mistake, anxiety, sulking which culminating in me asking if he wanted me to go home early. He said yes, because that’s what he does when I ask stupid questions, but it blew over and we kissed and made up.

Since then the sir has cleared and we have got back to the start of the week.

Tomorrow we will travel North and visit some beautiful cities for a few days with his parents . I’m excited. Very.

Trip 5, day 1

Travelling makes you patient. That’s my new revelation.

I’m sat waiting for my flight. I’ve seen the gate number on the Ryanair app but it hasn’t yet appeared on the notice board. There are a handful of people here and I’ve bagged a great seat next to an industrial fan.

Boarding doesn’t close for another 45 minutes. Soon the rush of people will be here.

There is a marked difference in the airport this time – now Covid has apparently departed, people are travelling again. I was lucky enough to travel last year and can see and feel the difference. Despite the bad press, this London Airport was smooth and efficient. Too efficient really- I was through security in a blink. What I will say is, it’s clear some people have forgotten the rules of travel: there were lots of people who were sent away to repack.

I need patience. I’ve realised how much I can be impatient and how this is a trigger for my anxiety. I automatically think the worst.

I’ve got two weeks with Wildcard. I can’t wait. I also can’t deny that something has shifted and I’m not sure what.

However, I was really really happy last night when he told me that he has taken 9 days off. Actions speak louder than words – I’ve said this before – he is choosing to use his holidays to be with me.

After a major wobble the other week, I had an enlightening conversation with my Facebook friend, one of two who are in serious relationships with men from Wildcard’s County. This wonderful lady has been a rock for me and has helped me navigate many a relationship stress. She’s talked me through this one, and made me realise how some of my behaviour has put pressure on him around my visits.

She’s an expert. Her husband is living with her and they have two small children. She’s lived this life and whilst she acknowledges the difficulties, she’s happy.

She helped me put a new perspective on some of his recent behaviours. She’s honest and highlights the good and bad in this life we lead. She says I’ve helped her as much as she’s helped me. It’s funny how we find people like that, when we need them.

And so to patience. Here are my trip pledges:

I am patient and understanding.

I am reflective of how others feel, not just me.

I’m committed to relax, laugh and enjoy.

I will not apply pressure to myself or him. It helps no one.

And now, to wait patiently.

Trip 4: day 2, travel and arrival

If you’ve read my last post, you’ll know that I commented upon the challenges of a long distance relationship and the sheer amount of organisation needed.

Mistake me not, he is worth every second. Barring the first trip, Covid has been ever present in our relationship. Multiple tests, multiple heath forms… this week’s trip pales in comparison. But I will say it again, he is worth it.

I’m on the plane now. I’m tired but comfortable. I started to question myself and my feelings, wondering at the changes I feel and what that actually means. My conclusion is that the absence is not excitement but fear. I’m not nervous or scared. Ok, my connecting flight bothers me a little, but in general there is no anxiety at all. That has to be a good thing.

In a way, its kind of left a void. An empty space not filled with any emotion right now.

******

It’s two hours later. I’m still on my flight but we are starting to descend. I then need to check-in for my second flight and wait for the final hour’s journey to be with him.

As we have got closer, I feel like I’m slowly awakening…unfurling like a rose bud. My heart and body and soul are calling out to him and waiting for his answer. I need to touch his skin, look into those deep brown eyes with all their mischief and…love. Yes, love.

No number of hours on video calls can compare with being 5 minutes in his company.

I’ve listened to my music on replay and have been reading my book. I’m now bored and impatient. I want him.

*****

I’ve seen his face. Yes, still on a screen but I’m so much closer now. I could see that little twinkle in his eye and know he is excited too, no matter how much he teases me otherwise.

Considering my anxiety, the stop off at this airport was relatively stress free. I didn’t know where I was going and neither did a few of the staff, but check in and security was easy. I’m about half an hour from boarding my last flight. I can’t wait.

Day one, trip four

I’m at my Holiday Inn Hotel and they are getting big stars from me. Staff have been really friendly and helpful, they’ve made a special gluten free meal and the facilities at the hotel are great.

Am I feeling any more excited? Maybe a little. Wildcard called me before and I felt sunbeams start to penetrate my morose mood a little more. Soon…soon, I will be kissing his soft lips. I can’t wait.

I haven’t been to this London Airport in over two years since the first time I travelled to see him. The last two trips have been via Spain and leaving from Manchester. Regardless, the difference is palpable. The train from London to the airport was crammed. In June last year, with advisories stating not to travel – which I ignored – the airports were ghost towns. Few people, closed shops…tomorrow’s flight will be a very different affair. I fly out at 7.15am, and am still trying to calculate when I need to get there. On one Ryanair page it says at least two hours before, on another just 1.5 hours. Decisions, decisions.

I’ve eaten and showered and now must try to sleep.

Grave

I’ve written a number of posts recently. They are currently sitting in the draft folder, that graveyard for the unpublished.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with them: they’re just incomplete. I write without a plan or even a clear process – diary-like, I write what is relevant at the time. Believe it or not, I am conscious of making mistakes (although I am aware I do) and will leave a post for checking and publishing later. This, clearly, often doesn’t happen. When I finally go back to the post it is no longer relevant so I don’t post it. Silly, really, as this matters only to me.

I’m sat on the 12.47pm train to London. I shouldn’t be.

The plan was to get the 18.47 train. But then life spun, as it often does I’ve realised, and my options changed.

On Sunday evening, my sister text me quite late at night, asking if I was awake. She called me, and let me know that my cousin was in hospital in a coma. He had collapsed whilst eating and they suspected a heart attack or stroke. His own father had died at a similar age of a heart attack. Unfortunately, many of my Dad’s siblings had heart issues, as did my dad.

I haven’t seen my cousin for a while. He is older than me and since Dad’s death, I see less and less of his family. This cousin used to visit my Dad regularly though – one or twice a fortnight – and was one of the few people who did. He had shown me kindness in the past, and whilst latterly had clearly been poisoned by my evil step-brother, I was sad about him.

I didn’t sleep well.

The next morning, I was informed that he had indeed died, not of a heart attack. It appears he had choked on his food. The ambulance did not arrive for 50 minutes.

I don’t know any more than this. My guess is that his wife had suspected the heart attack and maybe didn’t check. Or perhaps she was unable to help him. Either way, my heart ached for her and how she must feel now.

Yesterday I felt low, grave, morose. I drove to town to drop off my PCR test but there was no excitement. I got home, exhausted, and messaged my boss to let him know I was not great. He offered the rest of the week off and after much stressing and contemplating, I agreed.

At 10am this morning I changed my train ticket, hastily finished preparations, and here I am.

I still feel low. I should be excited, and there have been moments of that, but I’m not really.

As usual, I have put my own pressures and worries on to this trip before I even started. This situation has just added to it.

What I will say, is that his face has been the only thing to make me feel an ounce of happiness. He is like a sunbeam, breaking through my dark clouds.

I can’t wait to see him.

Who, what, where?

So, what life do I want? Who do I want to be?

Is this a midlife crisis – is that what it is? Or is this normal?

Let me take you back 5 years.

In 2016 I was 36 years old. My youngest child was 2. I was still married and my Dad was still alive. I had been promoted to Assistant Headteacher a year before and a new Headteacher was just starting at my school, bring anticipation for good things to come. But…

I was very, very unhappy in my marriage and had been since we had got back together. By the end of October we would have separated for good. My Dad was ill. We knew that we were lucky he was still with us but didn’t know how long we would have with him. Work held promise but was a very negative place. Soon, I would have a burnout from the pressure and stress of my life.

A lot can change in five years. Unexpected things happen. Planned things don’t happen. So much is out of our control but then a lot is in our control, but we don’t realise until it is too late.

In my first 40 years, what did I achieve?

I’m proud of my education and career and how hard I worked.

I’m happy that I was able to support my parents financially

I’m happy about the wonderful home I have and have given my children.

I’m proud of myself for being brave and getting out of an unhappy marriage and surviving.

I’m happy I finally managed to lose weight and keep some off.

I’m proud that I was able to look after my Dad and be there for my sisters.

I’m proud that I was brave enough to look for love again.

I’m proud that I have travelled, and even more so that I have travelled alone.

But what have I not achieved? What dreams and goals and aspirations are outstanding? What have I always wanted to do but not managed? In 40 years time, what do I want my achievements to be?

In five years time, where and who do I want to be?

Time to think.

Just

I can’t help but think that these journeys are unnecessarily complicated. I’ve only just published my last post which I completed yesterday because of the complications.

My experience through the airport of Wildcard’s country was relatively simple. Except that no one knows how to queue. People were pushing in to check-in from all angles. As I can’t speak their language there was little I could do but glare. Oh, and watch Wildcard as I waited. He stood at the barrier until I blew a kiss and waved him off. I watched him disappear for a moment then reappear, trying to see me in the queue again and then slowly walking to find his parents who were sat someone in the airport. I felt a pull from my solar plexus as he walked away – like my heart was pining for him as the distance grew, a complete physical manifestation of missing him.

So, due to the queue jumpers, check in took longer than needed. I had originally booked a priority ticket on Ryanair which gives you a 10kg carry on and a handbag. I had brought a 20kg case with me inbound as I had gifts to give Wildcard and his family and also brought toiletries etc, some of which I have left there with the bigger case.

Of course, once I had filled my smaller case with the gifts from Wildcard’s mum, I decided to buy a 20kg case pass again. I shouldn’t have bothered. My small case weighed 6kg. I prefer not lugging it round, it’s true, and security is easier with liquids and electricals packed away. But I’m not sure the cost justifies this. Is it more economical to buy the 20kg case when you buy your ticket? I’m not sure. Plus ‘priority’ is a joke. I’ve been on 8 flights this year and only once has Ryanair honoured priority pass. Plus, I think most people buy priority anyway, so it hardly makes a difference.

The plane out was delayed slightly which added pressure to my already tight schedule. My second flight to the UK (which I am now sat on, waiting to move) was not until 6am. I landed at 10pm, and once we had disembarked and went through security, picked up luggage and walked what seemed miles to the pick up point, I was wondering if it was worth going to the hotel.

It was. I travelled less than 10 minutes on the complimentary airshuttle and arrived at a comfortable hotel room with a huge bed and spacious walk in shower. It was 11pm before I had spoken to Wildcard, showered and looked for taxi options. Annoyingly, the hotel shuttle didn’t run until 5am and I needed to be at the airport for 4.30am. Check your hotel carefully. Airshuttle buses run at unique times for every hotel, if they even have one.

I didn’t sleep wonderfully well – my head was filled with Wildcard and the thought of a 4am get up – but being comfortable on a huge bed was better than sitting on a hard metal chair in the airport. Even if I had not slept, which I did, being comfortable for 5 hours was worth the £45 for the hotel. There were no comfortable facilities at the airport for my wait, although there may have been if I had booked a transit/connecting flight??

I woke, dressed, made my way out of the hotel and found a convenient ATM right outside the hotel. That was the simplest part of my morning. It all went downhill from there. I ordered my taxi via Cabify. This is the second time I have used them in Spain. I was quoted €13 for a 10 minute journey which is still cheaper than the €25 cost of a taxi transfer via the hotel. As before though, the taxi never arrives on time even though you can watch their journey on the interactive map. Secondly, there were a few other people waiting for taxis which made me wonder why the hotel hadn’t honoured its hotel room + transfer package if there were a few people needing it. Ah well.

The taxi driver didn’t speak English. We managed to communicate that I was going to the airport. He took me to the wrong terminal. I didn’t know this until I tried to enter the terminal and was told to go down two floors and get a bus. Sounds simple? It’s not at 4.45am when you are 15 minutes late and don’t speak Spanish. Plus, there was noone around which gives the airport an eerie feel and you can’t follow the crowds in the hope of getting to the right place.

But, I got there and managed to get to the right terminal. My next problem was that the UK Gov locator form wouldn’t accept my vaccination QR code and so the Ryanair staff wouldn’t check in my bag until I had done it. So, I stood at the front of the queue furiously fighting with it. Eventually it was done and I made my way to security. I weaved through the empty barriers and watched people walk straight through the ‘priority’ section, even though that was for disabled people or prams and they were neither.

The security alarm went off twice as I tried to walk through and the security didn’t speak English. You can tell they were talking about me though as I was ‘wanded’.

Soon I was finally, finally through security. I had a little time to grab a coffee and wish for the millionth time I wasn’t gluten free as I tried to ignore the beautiful fresh sandwiches and pastries on offer. Likewise, the plane offers nothing gluten free for breakfast. I’m probably hangry as well as exhausted.

I’m now on a train heading towards the centre of London so I can catch my final train back up North.

The flight to London was fine – practically empty – which makes the 4am get up worthwhile. I don’t know if it is covid or me but I really hate packed aeroplanes now.

When we landed though, I felt the physical pang in my chest. I was in the UK, home, and as far away from Wildcard as I can be. My heart aches with missing him. My heart tornadoes with thoughts and feelings and fears of the future.

Why can’t I just love him and him love me, and why can’t we just be together?

Lost in…

The day of my departure.

I’m packed and ready to go. I was determined to not be an over anxious mess this time. Not sure how successful I’ve been.

Last night I just felt numb. I was quiet and brooding though I tried not to be. Part of me was sulking too I guess. It was my last night there and I wanted something. When I was a child, the last night of a holiday was always a big deal. You’d go out for a meal or go somewhere special to mark the end of a great trip – go out with a bang I should say. It’s not that I wanted or needed to go out. I think I just wanted some recognition.

I suppose I need to remember that Wildcard may not see things that way. From what I gather, his experiences of holidays have been camping for the summer in his family’s village. He told me that as he and his brothers got older, they hated going. Not quite the same then.

But then, I guess I want to see that he is feeling it too – she’s going home, I’m going to miss her. Let’s make the most of it. But there was nothing to mark this. After sitting in the lounge for a while whilst he continued with his usual routine – the occasional ‘Are you ok?’ ‘What’s wrong?’ punctuating the silence, I got up and went to my room, heart heavy and soul weary.

He shouted me and I ignored him. I had no energy to answer and I didn’t want to talk about it. Childish? Probably. I couldn’t help it – in my head he should feel the same and I shouldn’t have to explain everything.

Before long though he came to the room. He asked again what was wrong and then lay with me, his legs claiming me. He smacked my bottom occasionally. Tickled me a few times. In that way he was trying.

We were shouted for tea and apparently his mum noticed I wasn’t myself. I hate that, I tried to act normal, but that heavy feeling inside is hard to overcome.

And of course it is wrapped up in a multitude of other feelings. Fear he doesn’t reciprocate. Guilt over my children. Worry that we may split up and I never come back. Wonder that he still hasn’t made us official. Anger that I’m torturing myself again.

We drank our tea, said goodnight to his parents and I got ready for bed. When I went into my room he was stood at the window and I went to stand with him. He kissed my cheek and my forehead and I rested my head on his shoulder. We cuddled a little on the bed and he gently kissed every part of my face. But when he told me he was going to bed as he was tired, I couldn’t help the tears.

And I couldn’t explain. When he left me that night, my trip was over. I didn’t want him to leave. It’s not that I wanted sex (although I would never say no to him), I just didn’t want him to leave me. I managed to explain enough that I didn’t want him to go and I wanted him to be near, and could he stay just a little longer? So we talked a little and we cuddled and we kissed and eventually I had calmed enough to tell him to go to bed. Prioritising me enough not to go to bed when he was tired said enough to appease me.

He messaged not long after, telling me not to be sad and that he loved me. And with that I fell asleep.

At some time in the night I heard movement outside my room. I’m a light sleeper mostly, so anyone venturing to the bathroom will wake me. To my surprise, Wildcard came to my door. He’d had a bad dream about his Grandmother and couldn’t sleep. He came in, shut the blinds and cuddled up to me. We slept together for the rest of the night although neither of us sleeps well with someone else in the bed. It was magical though, and something we haven’t done since my very first trip in Feb 2019. I sent a thank you to his Grandmother. I have dreamed of her once too as she beckoned me to into her family, and I have no doubts that she had done this.

In the morning there was love and passionate and affection. Then he went to work, leaving me to shower and pack.

I started shaking about an hour after he left. I felt calmer than last time but the anxiety was coming from within my body, not my mind. His mother asked me for help and as I sat with her, I told her that I felt nervous. She asked me why and I started to weep. I couldn’t help it. She asked me again and so I told her.

‘I don’t want to leave Wildcard.’

She looked at me, confused, and asked me to repeat. I said it again but she still didn’t understand so she asked me to translate on my phone.

She then understood and told me not to be sad and she was sorry. She asked me if I loved him and I told her, yes a lot. So now she knows.

Later, once I was calm again. She told me that she had misunderstood me at first, and thought I had said ‘ I don’t want to live with Wildcard’. We laughed for ten minutes straight over that one and I felt better after it.

He came home from work and we all ate dinner before Wildcard and I lay on his bed and just cuddled. I may have wept a little.

At the airport he sat with me for nearly 45 minutes until it was time to drop my bag. I told him to go, but he didn’t.

I’m lost in him. I’m lost without him. I don’t know when I’m going back. I’m just…lost.