Trip 6, Day 10: home

Five days late in posting. My apologies!

I’m at the Gate, waiting to board my last flight home.

The flight to Spain took just over an hour. On reflection, travel wise it has added nothing as today’s flight is still 3 hours – wait, no, it’s actually saved me the three hours train journey. I will land at my local airport and will be home within half an hour.

Just like that.

Just like that, I’m back to normal. And with that sentiment, a heavy heavy weight descends on my chest.

The Hostal was simple but sufficient. I’d spoken to him briefly in the airport but I was a little lost at that time, unable to find a cash point or taxi rank (note to self, ATMs in the airport are extortionate and most taxis offer card payments 🧐). When I arrived 20 minutes later, I called him. He was tired but checked I was OK. I searched his face for…something. If he felt anything at this time, it was hidden.

I spent the rest of the evening messaging my married friend and she consoled me, kindly. But, she also said this trip needed some analysis. I needed to get control of my own future. When the time was right, we would discuss everything. She would consult her husband surreptitiously, and gain insight from a man of Wildcard’s age and culture.

As we parted I commented: if all was good, I wouldn’t need their advice, would I?

*******

I slept relatively well. I woke in the night too hot as I had blasted the slow heating to full as the room was freezing when I had arrived. By 3am, I was roasting.

This morning, I finally woke at 8.30am – around the time Wildcard would come to me, and I felt an ache like no other. I considered that he was probably still sleeping and took the time to reflect in the calm, quiet of a morning alone in a Spanish Hotel.

Within half an hour, I was ready to message. He called within minutes.

I was still searching, of course. Still searching for signs that he felt like I do. He looked tired, yes. Asking never works, but of course, I tried. We were on the phone for some time and I asked again to ‘tell me something good’. He joked, with the melodramatic voice he gives me in these situations, that he hadn’t slept thinking about me. That he was hurting because I was not there, that he couldn’t breathe. I don’t know if any of what he said was true. I only know that was how I felt. We said goodbye and I made myself get up, wipe my tears and go out. I walked the quiet streets and eventually stopped at a popular cafe for freshly squeezed orange juice and amazing coffee. Unfortunately, there were no gluten free options but I enjoyed sipping and watching the many sparrows darting so close to me for scraps.

I walked a little more and visited a supermarket to buy Spanish sweets for my children. Eventually, I made my way back and repacked and showered. I thought some more.

As I finish this post, I have completed another one too. It contains my reflections and real heartfelt soul searching – not just about Wildcard, but more importantly about myself.

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Trip 6, Day 9

So, I’m here again, sat alone in the airport with nothing but my bags and my sorrow.

We awoke late, no doubt exhausted from the emotions and poor sleep. But our love making was passionate and intense and beautiful. His throw-away comment afterwards, not so much.

Whilst I can’t deny that I want him all the time – I’ve never felt anything like it – is certainly isn’t all I want ‘every time’.

I remained quiet and snuggled closer. He was soon more relaxed himself. At this point, I attempt to talk, whilst he was so distracted by his game. A cunning strategy, I thought.

I told him that I was truly sorry for my constant tears and that I wasn’t sure myself why I behaved like that. I told him how much I loved him and that the only thing I knew; each time I was scared he didn’t want me. That’s what they all had in common, somehow. He didn’t say much but he listened. I soon hit his limit and, content I’d said the most important things, decided to try to make the best of the rest of the day together before I left.

We stayed in bed a long time, watching things on his phone. At one point, he got up to tell me that he was thinking of going to work. I stayed silent. He went out the room came back within moments and got back in bed. I knew the ice had broken some what when he showed me videos from his YouTube channel of ten years ago, laughing to himself.

The rest of the day passed in relaxing, tears and me desperately trying to combat the pain in my chest and the shaking of my hands.

I packed my bags. We had dinner. Then, we went to his room – no longer mine – and he took me in his arms to kiss and hold me. When I cried, he exclaimed that I wasn’t really leaving him, he would be there on the phone as always. When I told him, “but it’s not this” he looked away, and I swear at this point there was emotion he was trying to hide. My married friend told me her husband only admitted how much he was upset by her leaving years later – how he had hidden it to be strong for her. In reality, he cried and was as upset as her. I can only hope. He may also have been thinking, ‘thank goodness it’s not like this all the time’ but even I doubt that.

And I doubt that because of his behaviour in the airport. Me, thinking just rip the plaster off and I will get going, him being surprised and asking, “you’re going?” The way he looked in my eyes when I finally dragged them to his. The way he grabbed my hand, hidden by our bodies (no pda in this country, remember) when my tears fell yet again. When he gave a quick, lawless kiss and told me he loved me.

So, here I am, sat in the airport. It’s busy, and the light is fading. I’ve actually been able to find a seat and am reluctant to move despite needing to use the restroom.

Don’t think I’m not guilt ridden. I am. Guilty that I wished soo hard that my flight would be cancelled. Guilty that although I miss my children, I would stay longer here if I could (damn you new job). I feel guilty that I cried. I feel guilty that I made his mum cry when I did. I’m guilty that I hurt him.

Trip 6, Day 8

I was tired this morning and I’m not sure why as I slept well. Maybe it’s all the overthinking – that has to take up some energy.

He came, we cuddled. In those moments, just lying there as I often am, you really relish the soft touch of his lips on your cheek; the strength of his arms around you or the sensual touch of bare feet on bare feet. It’s my favourite time, even if there was no love-making, like this morning.

After breakfast, I showered and then we took another stroll on his roof terrace. The sun was bright and warm and I love chatting with him up there. He told me we would be going to his city that afternoon.

We’ve been to the city about three times across my trips. Today though, we did more of the touristy things. Being a Friday, a lot of the shops and market stalls were closed, but enough were open to make it enjoyable – more so because with less stalls and less people, you could really get a feel for the place. We saw three of the main historical and architectural wonders his city is famed for and we took some beautiful pictures. It was good to be out in the sunshine too.

I was surprised and really touched when he bought me some beautiful leather sandals from the market and enjoyed watching the sunset as we drove home. Stopping to buy my favourite fruit from a farmer on the way home- even though they were expensive – was also a kind thought.

We were soon home and eating a delicious dinner. His parents soon went to bed but, unlike last night, there was no tension or undecision of what to do. It was my last night so we were staying up.

Not long after his parents left, I leant over his knees and asked for kiss. Then I told him I needed one. Either way, I didn’t get. He was engrossed in deleting old photos from his Google account making room for the beautiful photos we had taken that day. Being the high-maintenance craze-pot that I am, I of course was a little nettled by that. There was a little banter back and forth and eventually the phone was put down and the teasing commenced. Like the previous night, he would beckon me forward and, when I did, would exclaim that I misunderstood. After a while and under threat of me sitting back down in my place at his feet, he took to holding me there by my clothes or hair, an amused gleam to his eye (which I will freely admit now that I love) and a smile on his face.

Never to be outdone or skimp on the jesting, round two involved him pressing his lips together most invitingly for a kiss, then moving away when I tried. I’d ‘give up’, he’d hold me in place and then it would start again.

Round three was war of the noses. He’d let me close enough so our noses touched but that’s it. Amusing yes. Frustrating, ridiculously. Enough so…you guessed it by this point I emotionally couldn’t see the funny side and as ‘this is the last evening you will have time kiss me for 5 months’ screamed through my head, obliterating all sense and reason, I started to cry. AGAIN.

At this, he pushed his lips to mine and his kisses were…out of this world. He was generally shocked by my crying AGAIN, I can’t understand why, as that it pretty much all I’ve done. He asked, did I not like his playing? Which I replied, I did, but I guess the blubbering mess of my face suggested otherwise. I told him I loved him and then,

“Do you hate me?’ One because he had every right to and two, because that was what he said to me most of all – his way of professing his love in a way that I only know and he can pretend he hasn’t just blurted his heart out.

“No.” His voice was deep and emotion tinged and I lifted my head up in surprise to look at him.

“No? Tell me you love me then.”

And he did, although I didn’t miss the way his eyes flicked away right before the end. So close though.

After more beautiful kisses, I decided I emotionally couldn’t cope any more. I got up and got us both some water. Placing his bottle on his table, I turned to go and saw such a look of pain in his face. He was surprised I was going and looked genuinely hurt. I’ve never, ever seen that look before. I lay back down with him and he held me. He said he didn’t understand me. We hugged, we kissed, and soon it was time for me to go. He didn’t get up to walk me to bed.

I went into my room, sat down, and let it all out. Why do I keep doing this? Why do I ruin everything? He’d be better off without me.

After a moment, I went to the bathroom to clean up but then I went back to him.

He made room and I held him. He said again, “I don’t know why you do that. Why do you cry every night?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I’m not good for you.”

“OK.. so..” and that was all he said. He buried his face into my neck and we just held each other, his sentence unfinished…mine missing.

Before long, he roused enough to tell me to go to bed. He walked me to my door, kissed me, and said he loved me.

I didn’t sleep well, as usual. I woke a number of times, full of self loathing and fear. I’d never seen him so hurt before, so dejected. What could I say? How can I explain?

At 4.30am, I admitted defeat and went to the bathroom. As I walked through the hallway, I thought I heard the TV on from his room, but on the way back it was quiet. I lay back in bed, trying not to imagine he hadn’t wanted me to know he was awake. Either way, I needed to try to sleep.

Within moments though the door opened and he asked me to switch on the lamp. He told me he had had bad dreams and now couldn’t sleep. He crawled into bed beside me, and locked me within his arms. Before long, he was asleep and I lay there, thinking of course.

I barely wanted to move in case he left. Time passed by and eventually, I too fell asleep.

Trip 6, Day 7 – 10pm

True to his word, around 10pm when he heard one of his parents, he had got up bleary-eyed and mussed-haired. He checked the time, kissed me and said goodnight then left.

After some time being consoled by my friend and being brought back down to earth, I calmed. But of course I didn’t sleep well.

I woke a number of times, wondering what time it was, wondering how things would be in the morning. I also had my first school dream of the New Year – I start my new job on Monday. In my dream I was lost but kept finding ex pupils who wanted to speak to me. There was a moment of me climbing through a window, escorted by my agency manager, as I tried to get to my new classroom.

Eventually, I woke at 8.30am. I made my morning rituals and fully expected him to not come in until later. He came in before 9am.

I attempt to apologise but he shushed me, held me, and took out his phone. We lay, cuddling for some time.

It was not forgotten though. As we waited for breakfast, he joked that he was going to tell his mum that I thought she went to bed too early. I didn’t like that.

He didn’t tell her but I was a little quiet of breakfast, tired from the poor sleep and the nerves.

Today, he didn’t go to work. We’ve had a nice day relaxing and spent some time on the roof terrace, goofing about. We had a dinner for two as his mum was fasting and dad was out. He blew me kisses throughout the day which made me smile.

By the evening, I was again a little contemplative. At some point, I will need to write this all down. But not now.

As the sun went down, his mum invited to me to eat with her. I wasn’t hungry but I felt she didn’t want to eat alone so joined her. I didn’t eat much, but I think she appreciated me being there.

Then there was tea. I knew what was coming and had no real plan of how to play this. As always, once finished, his mother and father went to bed. There was then silence in our room, other than the TV.

Part of me considered just going to bed (it was 8pm) but then I’d have just made last night seem like it hadn’t mattered. But I also didn’t want to force him to stay up.

Eventually, he put his phone and cup down and beckoned me to him. He teased me for some time, frustrating the hell out of me, but also gave me sweet sweet kisses.

Just after 9pm, I decided to admit defeat and told him I would let him sleep. We tidied away, and I waited for him to say goodnight by the window in my bedroom.

He came in and stood with me, arm around my waist and looking out into the night before smacking my bottom in jest.

I sat on the bed and he joined me, leaning in for a kiss and then tormenting me by pulling away, repeatedly.

He joked that I must be asking myself, why do I have this crazy boyfriend even as my heart is happy. I told him no, that is not what I think. After prompting I whispered, “I ask myself, why am I not good enough?” I don’t even know where that came from and I was as surprised as him except….I know it holds the truth.

He didnt try to discuss that with me for long. Seeing the raw emotion I felt, instead he kissed me gently over and over and over. But before long we were kissing passionately and not long after that, making love.

He left me just after 10pm.

Trip 6, Day 6 – highs and lows

He came early this morning. I sprang up from bed delighted, like a child, and he joked that I should ‘stay back’. He grabbed his customary chocolate that I brought – for his sweet tooth, to sweeten his breath or for energy I’m never sure. He then got into bed. No phone…

He held me. I held him. And I let my hands wander and touch and caress – not for him as such, but selfishly because I want to commit every millimetre to memory. Although, he did enjoy it, obviously. We made love and after he held me again. I can’t get enough of him. I once read something – a poem perhaps – where the narrator said they wanted to crawl inside their loved one so they would be with them always. I found the analogy bizarre when I read it, and a little gross. But I get it now.

My soul craves his. 
My skin needs his.
I want to melt into him -
For we are one.

I’m unashamed when I say I enjoy sex. But this is not about sex. When we make love, I am as close to him as I possibly can be and that is what I want. I want him and his love to consume me – my body, my love, my heart and soul. That is what making love truly is and I can honestly say I have never felt like this with any other man in my whole life.

Eventually, it was time for breakfast. He was a little distracted and rushed to head out to work. As his parents and I were still eating, there was no goodbye kiss but as yesterday, I watched as he went to leave. Hidden by the wall, he turned and with humour in his eyes, blew me a dramatic kiss out of sight of his parents. And as the door closed behind him, his face was in the closing space and he gave me another and I smiled, openly and happily.

******

Today, I was lucky as he was able to come home for dinner. It was a nice surprise and broke up the day. He went back to work after of course, and in a change of routine I lay down on the bed.

I spent the remaining hours until he came home reading past posts from the time we met. It was eye opening. There was so much I had forgotten.

But it’s more than that. You can read how steadily, I fall in love with him. You see my inner conflict and fear as I combat the negativity of people I once called friends. You see my growing excitement, anticipation and anxiety as my first trio looms. Interestingly, now from a distance, you can see him falling in love with me and being equally as nervous. It was a wonderful thing to re-read and experience it all.

At this point, he came home. Finding me lying on the bed, he too broke routine and joined me. We watched a TV show together and he made me laugh. I listened as he repeated the English dubover of his Korean show and felt heartwarmed that he was trying to improve his English this way.

All too soon, we were called for tea. And all too soon after that, we were getting ready for bed.

After the usual rituals of goodnight, kisses, then washing my face, brushing teeth etc, I got into bed and picked up my phone to see…it was 8pm.

8pm

I was shocked. Don’t get me wrong, I know he is exhausted and I also know he goes to bed early. But 8pm? Really?

So, I did my usual. Allowed myself to stew and then messaged. I didn’t say much, honest. Just expressed my…surprise…at the time. He offered for me to go sit with him but, no. I cut my nose off to spite my face and told him: ‘It’s OK, forget.’

Within moments, he was with me. He told me he would stay until 10pm, my usual bedtime back home. Any protests by me were ignored. He cuddled in, shut his eyes and went to sleep.

I tried, a couple of times to wake him and tell him to go. He ignored me. So I lay for some time feeling like the worst girlfriend in the world. And then, surprisingly, no doubt shrouded in the warmth of his loving arms and acceptance, I too slept a little.

Trip 6, Day 5 – waiting

Today has been a little different.

It started the same although Wildcard came to me a little later. Not that I was clock watching or anything. Whilst still being his jesting self, I’ve noted that he is paying attention to my needs with a keen eye and held me much longer today when he saw I needed it.

After breakfast and his departure (apparently my half hearted suggestion that he stay with me was something out of a romantic film. Boo.) I sat and did a bit of home housekeeping with emails and checking my online banking. No sooner had I done that, than my ex messaged asking for money. I said OK, as I usually do, but then sat stewing for half an hour before sending a rather long irate text. His attempts to pacify me were poor to say the least. My attempts to be calm even less so.

I need to cut more ties. I know it and so does everyone else. His need for financial support still, five years later is now just frustrating. Even more so because for the past 18 months, I haven’t had the same money I used to. Frustratingly of course, I took the leadership job in September to help with this situation: higher pay to get to a point where he can be taken off the mortgage I pay, and therefore he has no hold or threat over me anymore.

As one of my New Year’s reflections was a real desire to get a much better handle on my finances, I spent some time this morning in subtle planning and exploring. I want to get to a point where no penny is uncounted for.

Wildcard’s beautiful inscribed gift with ‘my wife’ on has given me some more hope that some point soon we will finally marry. I’ve thought this deep down for a while, and it’s not that he hasn’t already said this, but I think he has probably considered me his wife for some time. For him, the paperwork is a legality only needed if and when he decides he is ready to move to the UK with me. I suspect for the time-being, he’s actually quite happy with the arrangement.

And I understand why. I spent the afternoon in the kitchen with his mother. She showed me how she cooks some of her amazing, traditional dishes. We talked, albeit stiltingly, of her traditional role. He is well looked after and cared for, is providing the role of an elder son exactly as his culture and religion state. He has a career, a car…a life. I’m part of that life every single day with the multiple calls we have. He is not after a visa – whilst the UK is appealing, he has much more to lose here than many of his fellow natives who seek a foreign marriage. He has little desire to leave his parents, potentially give up his job and car, and move to a cold wet country where the culture is so different to his.

But I do know he loves me. I just still don’t know if it is enough, if I am enough, for him to give up on what he has.

His parents are wonderful and I love them dearly. I can’t pretend I don’t feel pangs of guilt at my hopes of dragging their son away. I wish there was another solution but there isn’t. In the past I’ve suggested us marrying but waiting some time for a visa – for me, it will give us more flexibility on our visits and I am happy with that for now. He doesn’t see it that way, so I will have to wait a little longer.

*****

I wrote this earlier with some resigned acceptance. Whilst it is not what I want – I want to be with him as closely and as often as I can – I do understand the situation and ironically love him for it

Unfortunately, subconsciously, this must have lodged somewhere. Like an annoying sticky bob seed.

Later that day – a day that passed by so quickly as I talked with his mother – he came home and there was joy in his voice as he greeted me. We ate and then I watched his daily ritual of preparing the sofa to relax – moving cushions, getting his water and phone charger, getting the warm blanket – and was heart warmed as I noticed him prepare my area too.

I soon joined him, his feet in my lap as always, my hand touching his skin. He plays on his game, I read on my phone. The last few nights, his mother has joined us too – making her own little snug opposite us blanket covering her and phone in hand. We’ve laughed as Wildcard has danced or done one of the many jesting things he does that makes me love him. During this time, he turned and asked what time I was leaving on Saturday. A simple question and no doubt as they were discussing plans as Wildcard is hoping to take the day off.

But it lodged in my heart. It found the sticky-bob seed of resignation and inflamed it. I started counting the days left, particularly as I had calculated that at best he would only work Thursday morning and take the rest off.

I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t.

I worked out that, with his brother coming Feb and Ramadan in April, I would not be seeing him until at least June. Five months away, again. And that thought, along with “I don’t want to leave him” is like an automatic push button on my tears. I turned my head and tears fell.

I was careful. No sobbing or weeping. No body heaving. But he knows, as he always knows.

“Are you crying?”

“No.”

“Look at me.”

I moved his strategically placed pillow and crept up so I was now resting in my place, on his chest. He asked why I was upset and I explained. He hadn’t considered how events would prevent my visit until the summer. But he spoke of us traveling again, south this time if I wanted. He joked I could try to fit him in my suitcase but then remembered his gift and reminded me that was what it was for.

(My waterworks have started again)

And then, I just lay in his arms and he held me – longer than I thought he would – until I was calm again.

Once in bed of course, I started again. I messaged my friend and she reminisced on the times she had felt this way when her relationship was long distance. It’s normal, unfortunately. There’s nothing to quite compare to the anguish of knowing you will go back to waiting. Even when you are soul brimmingly happy, as I am.

Trip 6, Day 4

Maybe it was the extra kisses, but I didn’t sleep great last night. I just wanted him with me. I could hear the occasional sounds of his moving as a thin partition wall is all that separates us when we are in bed. I tried my best to ‘manifest’ a visit. Didn’t happen.

In the morning he came to me as usual and he held me. Those moments are so precious. There are studies about 20 second hugs and their health and relationship benefits – you should try 20 minutes plus of being locked in someone’s arms, feeling the heat of their body and hearing the beat of their heart. If I could physically get any closer, I would. I can’t, of course.

Another beautiful breakfast and then he went to work. My heart ached today- I couldn’t face him going again and leaving me. The novelty, if there ever was one,  has truly worn out.

I spent the rest of the day watching Bridgerton, writing a few poems and going into climatic shock when I went to the roof terrace to hang out washing and feeling the warmth of 19° sun on my skin. Winter here is definitely not like home. I relished in the sunshine and it revived me a little. However warm and comfortable I may be, I’ve sat in his apartment for three days.

Revived, I went down and was rewarded with a call from Wildcard. He was still working and asked where his mother was. I took the phone to the kitchen and they had a conversation.  I could tell he was mildly agitated about something but know so little of his language, I had no idea about what.

Knowing he would be home within the hour, I settled myself to another episode, happiness blooming inside me of his soon return..

When he comes home, it’s like a full scale firework display inside. As he changed out of his work clothes, I proceeded to clear away my things, aching for that first kiss. Just as I was leaving the bedroom – he called for me to wait for him there and he disappeared into his parents room and quickly returned with something in his hands.

He had a big smile on his face and was excited.

“I have got you a present”

His face was just shining with anticipation. I admittedly, was a little shocked. I thought it was a joke to be honest – may be stain remover as we’d discussed an ink stain on his coat? – and eyed the package in his hands with calculation.

Still excited, he went to close the blinds but said he wanted to see my face when I opened it.

So I did. It was a beautiful, thoughtful, sentimental and heart-felt gift. My mouth opened and I stared. Every part of it had been designed and chosen by him. Every part showed – no declared- his love for me. For all to see. No, it wasn’t an engagement ring. But it didn’t need to be.

Trip 6, Day 3 – love

I woke at 7am and internally groaned. I’d done it, yet again. Stupid, stupid.

Later in the evening, after his message to say he loved me, I’d gone out to say sorry and kiss him and he’d told me it was ok and was forgotten. He must love me just on this basis alone.

Nonetheless, my heart sunk a little as I woke and remembered. I did my customary mini-morning glow up and got back into bed to read and wait.

He came in early again, just after 8am and like the previous day, we cuddled to get warm (he’s not warm sleeping here he does and it always makes me feel guilty but he insists I take his room). Then he held me and started to watch things on his phone. And I buried my face his neck and breathed him in.

Yesterday, I’d have been annoyed he was on his phone. Today, I just relished in the warmth of his arms and legs wrapped around me and the touch of his hand stroking my skin, phone or not.

But that wasn’t all. At every opportunity, he kissed me. My cheeks, face, lips..over and over. More than usual – notably more. And my heart swelled.

After some time he asked if I’d noticed all his kisses? I smiled and said, “of course”. He was trying. He always tries, no matter how stupid my outbursts. He listens, he tries and I love him for it.

Again, he stayed with me much longer than he should. We had a lovely breakfast again, and then he finally went to work at 11.30am. And I really love him for that too.

There is a great reel knocking about on Facebook at the moment, where Jay Shetty is on a talk show and he discusses how his value of time kept causing conflict early in his marriage. He realised that, whilst his wife was always late, she was late because of the vibrancy and spontaneity that he loved about her. He had to accept the good with the bad.

I love Wildcard’s integrity and sense of humour. I love his teasing and his joking and the way that he makes me laugh like no one has ever done before. I love everything about his man and don’t want to change anything. When I get upset, often it’s because he’s not doing what I am doing. But he isn’t me! We are different in many ways, and ways that work: when I allow myself to realise that he is not me, so will not act as I do. He shows his love in many ways when I allow myself to see them and stop myself from being insecure and anxious. If you allow yourself to look for beauty and love, you soon realise that it has been right in front of you all this time.

This evening we have laughed frequently, played and joked and he reached for my hand. He even stayed up later. I just kept looking at him or feeling his hand in mine or his feet in my lap, and I felt insanely happy and loved.

Trip 6, day 1 (part 2)

I guess what doesn’t change, is how I feel as we get closer to his country. I spend the first few hours listening to music and playing games on my phone. I’d be lying if I say I don’t think of him, but I try to stay busy.

In the last hour with announcements of ‘last chance refreshments/duty free’, and ‘get ready for landing’…well, the excitement just grows. I’m sick of games by then and so I gaze out the window and just imagine…his face, his eyes, his lips and his kisses. I feel like my body is made of butterflies.

We landed, and sitting on the last row paid off as I was soon through passport control.

He called as I was walking through the doors and then I saw him. And the butterflies turned to heat, to magnetic force, and I just needed to be near him. He gave ne the customary European kisses, but he lingered a little longer and I could see his smiles.

As we walked out toward the car, he told me he had only had time to change before rushing out to get me. I joked that he must smell like work, and leant over to sniff dramatically in jest. And..he kissed my cheek again. “Is that what you want?” He asked. Well, yes, of course I thought but that was pretty unexpected.

Seeing his parents was like coming home. They’re such lovely people. And this time, his dad went straight in for a hug ❤️.

And even though he was exhausted, having worked 12 hours straight before coming for me, we went the longer way home so he could show me the centre of his beautiful city by night.

We arrived at his apartment and got to business with unpacking and settling in.

And then it was time for kisses. Worth every daydream, every second of travelling and waiting.

In jest again though, I wouldn’t let him go, and kept going back for more hugs and kisses, and whilst he isn’t always demonstrable like that, I could see that he loved it and was laughing.

We had a lovely dinner although Wildcard was pale with exhaustion by this point. He stroked my back and just feeling him near made my whole body and soul fill with happiness.

I gave out the presents I had bought and there were more hugs all round from his parents, and tender beautiful kisses from him.

And whilst I longed for more…I wasn’t dissatisfied. In fact, I am very very happy.

Trip 6, Day 1 (part one)

7.45am

I’m on my first train.

Finally, finally, I’ve felt some excitement for my trip. Don’t get me wrong, there have been moments of excitement when i booked or when i spoke to Wildcard about the trip a few weeks ago. But in the close lead up, this was the first time.

As my sister was driving me to the train station, Wildcard called me. That is the moment I felt it: when I saw his face and knew that by the end of this day I would be looking into his eyes, in real life, face to face.

My whole body has come alive with excitement and love and anticipation. And I could see the excitement on his face too. ❤️

I’ve come to the conclusion that every trip will feel different. I didn’t expect that somehow but it has been the case.

I’ve felt a lot of anxiety leading up to this one which has surprised me: I’m a solo travelling pro now. However, the run up to Christmas, planning my sons’ birthdays and trying to get ready for my new job – on top of being organised for a trip. Yes, that’s probably what has done it.

I’ve had mixed reactions on missing my son’s 16th. First, he was the one who told me to take this flight. Close friends have told me to just go – I’ve planned and been there for every one of my children’s birthdays, as I should be. One of them pointed out that being there on the actual day isn’t the key thing – how many children have extended birthdays over s few days, or are in school? A few people have gasped at my going. I’ve gasped inwardly, admittedly. But, I planned a little party for him last night and spent all day cleaning and putting up birthday decorations. I cooked his favourite food and invited his close family. And you know what? He spent 95% of the time upstairs. We all understood – he’s autistic, and has never coped with large gatherings. But it has made me feel a little better. Tomorrow he has a few close friends coming over and I have shopped to buy food, snacks and drinks. I can do no more.

So that’s one source of my anxiety put to rest. Hopefully.

I can’t pretend either that I haven’t spent the last few nights in an anxiety spiral over whether there is any point in me going. Seems silly to say that now, in the bright light of day. A large part, although I’m only just admitting this, is because he’s working a lot in the first half of my trip. He’s worked on 5 of the 6 trips to be fair; but at this time, his work will keep him out all day and later than usual. He won’t come home in the afternoon for dinner. That’s a long time to be sat at his home, waiting for him each day. With all the arrangements I’ve had to make and the stresses of strikes here there and everywhere…well, it made me think. He admitted it in different conversation recently: he’s keeping a month of his holidays in reservation….that made more sense. Nonetheless he can’t help having to work as he is covering someone else’s planned holiday. I just have to deal with it.

The usual mental devils have reared their heads though. He doesn’t really love you. He’s not excited. You’re wasting your time. He’s never going to marry you. Blah blah blah. After two nights (and the rest) of this on repeat, I’ve had enough of these thoughts. No more.

8.34am

So, I’m now on train 3 waiting to depart for London. I’ve got a window seat – yay!- and my phone is on charge and I have a flat white coffee in front of me. Happy days.

As I turned on my phone, a photo memory popped up of ‘spotlight on Wildcard’. ❤️ Synchronicity at its best. A selection of memories from over my five trips and him in all his delicious glory. And then, as I put my music on, the very first song to play on shuffle is the song that most reminds me of Wildcard, followed by the Maroon 5 song where Adam Levine is in pilot gear…I am very, very excited now. 😊

14.25

As you can see, I’m now sat in the departure lounge. What you don’t know, is I am still early. Oops. I’ve taken a punt on the gate on the Ryanair app being correct, even though it has just changed. Trying to avoid the crowds, you know?

I’ve not spoken to Wildcard since this morning but he had told me he would have a very busy day: he sent me a voice note a few hours ago. I’m still excited. I am anxious. But mainly excited now.

And so I wait for my plane. And after a 3.5 hour flight, I will be in Wildcard’s Country.