Deeper

I’ve been here for six days now. For those of you (and I thank you now) who have read about my last two trips to see Wildcard, desperately trying not to repeat myself. So if I do, apologies.

As with last time, we have now got into a rhythm of sorts. I can’t deny though that things feel different, in a good way.

Each morning I wake and freshen up before lying in bed and reading or listening to music. I wait for him. There’s no point lying about it, that’s what I do.

He’s surprised me by coming in as early as 8 o clock which is wonderful from every angle. He kisses me good morning and then we cuddle, legs entwined, my head on his chest and hom stroking my hair or my back. We talk a little. Sometimes he falls back to sleep (he is not a morning person) sometimes we make love. Then eventually, he has to get up and go to work. He kisses me before leaving and I watch him drive away from the window.

Why am I telling you this? Is it even interesting? I tell you this because when you are in a Long Distance Relationship (LDR), morning like that are gold. I love every second. Without trying to generalise too much, I’m guessing that most couples after two years don’t get that feeling each morning. For us it is a novelty and it is special. My advice is treasure those moments, LDR or not. It is too easy for life to get in the way of precious moments like that.

Needless to say I hate him going to work but he has to. So I get up myself and get washed and dressed and have breakfast with his parents if we didn’t have it before Wildcard leaves for work. My conversations with his parents and mum in particular are going really well.

After helping to clean up, I then do some drawing or reading or listening to music. I offer to help with housework each day, and each day I’m told no. So I relax and enjoy and…honestly again, wait for him to come home for dinner.

I get that thrill as soon as he walks through the door. My eyes cannot take him in enough and all I want to do is kiss him and snuggle up to him. To me he is still the most handsome man I’ve ever met.

He then lies on the sofa and I sit by his feet, often with them in my lap or he teases me by softly kicking me when I’m reading, only to stop when I look his way. Sometimes he gains my attention by making funny noises until we are both laughing.

I remember feeling really frustrated last time. He was always watching TV or something on his phone and although I like the physical closeness I admittedly get a little bored. Plus I wanted attention. This time, I go with the flow. I’m on holiday, he’s not. This is his routine and I am now a part of it. So long as I keep myself occupied, all is good – and the more I’m occupied, the more he disrupts me with his tickling, kicking and funny noises. Life is so much easier when you just lighten up.

To my surprise and delight he has actually initiated some amazingly intimate times on this trip, when his parents are out shopping. Last time, he didn’t at all and I wondered why not as it was the perfect time. These moments are extra special and loving and intimate, perhaps because we are so relaxed. The sex is different too than before. I can only put it down to this deepening connection we have: I’ve never felt anything like it.

Deepening is the perfect word for what is happening, for me at any rate. I knew I loved him a lot and knew I was completely in love with him. But the more we are together, the deeper it is getting. It takes my breath away, makes my heart pound and my stomach lurch.

I don’t want to leave. I never want to leave, I know that, but I’m going to feel a wrench this time that I’m not sure I can cope with. He’s attached to me in the deep depths of my soul now and to be apart from him seems impossible.

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Actions speak louder than words

The beginning.

Yesterday was a long day. Very long. I dozed on each flight but you can’t escape that I had been awake over 24 hours before I arrived here.

My friend said that my third visit would feel different and it does. I told him on our last phone call that I could wait to kiss him and hug him. He didn’t say much in reply. I could say that he was driving….but he didn’t reply.

As I came in to land I decided to stop putting pressure on this relationship and just enjoy it for what it is, as it is now. As I said in my last post, now is all we have.

We messaged as I entered the airport but there were no calls as usual. Again, I pushed the negative emotions back.

When I saw him I had the flare of otherness, of excitement, of love and of nerves. He was dressed more informally than last time. I pushed them back again.

He took my case and greeted me with a kiss on each cheek, we then started to walk to the car. It was easy, comfortable. He teased me as normal and I could not feel any nerves between us. It felt really good. Comfortable, natural. Like coming home.

We arrived at his house and I ran to hug his mum. I then went to his/my room to unpack a little and settle. We seemed to almost dance around his room as we both settled and changed. But there were no hugs or kisses. Worry started to creep in.

I was silly to. As everything and everyone settled, probably ten minutes there, he held me – squeezed me – and kissed me so passionately. And then I knew that everything was OK. More than OK.

We had a delicious dinner and we settled into a comfortable silence as we all ate. Then after dinner, we went to his room.

And then there was passionate kissing and touching and love making – and it felt like love, every second of it.

Everything feels so easy this time. Normal and yet special. I’m really happy.

Actions really do speak louder than words.

4am

Good morning!

I’m sat in the departure lounge. My flight leaves in two hours and I haven’t slept yet. I probably should have done and I’m regretting sitting down. I now feel really sleepy.

Travelling alone, I can’t risk having a sneaky sleep. I feel vulnerable and I’m scared I will miss my flight. But I really, really want to. The mask weirdly makes me feel even more tired. Looking around, no one else is sleeping either, even the ones in groups. Do they feel like me?

I can’t wait to see Wildcard. We had a tricky month after my last trip but things have been great since. I’m determined to be positive and confident and not worry about the future. I’m just going to enjoy the here and now. That’s all we truly have, isn’t it?

I wanted Wildcard to show some excitement about my coming but he didn’t. That doesn’t mean he isn’t. He just doesn’t declare it openly like me and I have accepted that. Sometimes, even now after nearly two years, some of his joking sends a pang of fire through my veins. It’s too easy to worry. I know I’m too sensitive and I wish I wasn’t, but then isn’t that just who I am?

It’s nearly 5am now. I wasted a bit of time walking around. The airport is getting busy now. I’m waiting for my gate number (which I’m informed is in 15 minutes). I’ve had an unpleasant incident at one of the restaurants here – giving me a disclaimer where they clearly state they fry gluten free food with all other food that is not gluten free and they couldn’t get me out of there quick enough.

I can’t wait to be sat on the plane as it means I am a step closer to him: that feeling of comfort and ease when I am close to him. And not overthinking of course.

Control

It is 7.22am and I am on my first train on my little solo trip to London. Last night, I wasn’t sure I would make it.

Considering I have had three hours sleep, I have to applaud myself for being on this train at all.

My trip was planned as a soul searching journey. I still am not sure what to do about my life. The end of August is creeping ever nearer and from September 1st, I am officially unemployed.

Whilst travelling alone, my initial plan was to meet a friend there. We would have lunch today and then go out for dinner tomorrow night. Saturday daytime I had promised myself a leisurely stroll around as many museums as I wish – no pressure from anyone else, I could stand and stare or avoid as I would choose. I had booked a hotel need Hyde Park and planned to stroll around there too.

I was excited. I love travelling: culture, history and new experiences. It invigorates my mind and my soul and it is what I need right now. At home, I can’t think. My mind is crammed with thoughts and ideas and worries and concerns. I can’t sift through it all to make actual decisions.

I watched a great TED talk with Tony Robbins this week. He talked about decisions and actions. I realised, much like what I have learned with Mel Robbins, that decisions are power. When we make a decision and see it through, we then control our life. Everything we do or not do, comes from a decision.

So, I’ve made the decision not to go to London for the weekend as planned but just for the day.

Why?

I’ve mentioned my planned and then booked London trip to Wildcard a few times over the past week. Our conversation about this has been limited – I know that when he listens but is silent he is thinking and processing. I knew he wasn’t keen on me going there for some reason.

Last night we had our usual evening call. Despite his bout of covid, he is recovering well and was in high spirits. Until, that is, I told him that I was getting the train early. He had forgot (not unusal) that I was going today. That wasn’t the problem. It was when I told him I was returning on Sunday that was the problem.

Before you judge, as I am sure you will, there are a few things to remember. His culture is so different to mine and probably yours. I have accepted that as I have accepted all of him in loving him. Next, for the majority of our relationship we have been blighted by Covid. He barely knew pre-covid me. The one who went on holidays with friends, day trips walking and sightseeing regularly, out for coffee each week. He knows the woman who has been at home for 18 months, my only travel being to him.

The ironic thing of course is that my new found confidence in travelling alone has come from him and my trips to see him. Going down to London doesn’t seem that big a deal after navigating layovers in Spain. When I don’t speak Spanish. And got lost.

Nonetheless, he wasn’t happy. He couldn’t understand why I would go and stay there alone. He was suspicious and jealous and confused. Why wasn’t I going with my family? Why wasn’t I going with a friend? I tried to explain needing alone time and also that none of my family have the same love of museums and galleries as me, but he just couldn’t get it.

He talked about the seriousness of our relationship – would I travel alone if we were married? I answered no.

My number one choice, every single time would be to travel to or with him. Without question. I can’t wait to see him again and to take my family with me. If we were married, I would have no need to travel alone. I would hope we would be travelling together. For him, my solo trip was almost an act of defiance against our relationship – a kind of declaration of my still-singledom.

In my culture, without a ring on my finger, I kind of still am. In his, I am not. We are serious therefore we may as well as be married. I probably knew that deep down. In a way, it is comforting to have it confirmed.

By the end of the call though, as he had calmed down, he repeatedly told me to go on my trip. He claimed he had been joking – he wasn’t- and that he knew I loved him so it was not a problem. He said that there would be a discussion if I didn’t go.

Within ten minutes of our call ending – me still in shock and not sure what to do for the best – he had messaged apologising. He told me to forget all he had said and enjoy my trip. I reiterated that I never had any intention of hurting him and I could cancel. Considering our relationship recently, the fact that London isn’t going anywhere, I would have done this. He repeatedly told me to go: there wasn’t a problem.

Hence, my dilemma. I had a decision to make.

Yes, it is my life. Yes it is my choice. But it my choice to be with him and my decision to spend my life with him. Was this trip more important than him? Definitely not. Clearly, next time there needs to be a much more detailed conversation before I book anything.

And so, I choose this compromise and middle ground. I go for the day. He had been relatively happy with that in comparison. I am still going so not completely bowing down but am nodding to his feelings. I’m showing him that I care and he is important.

So that is my decision. Emphasis on MY.

I wish this trip hadn’t coincided with a cake order, but so-be-it. I had made the choice to take on the order, knowing I was travelling. I finished what I could for 2am, slept until 5am and got up to finish.

You know what this shows? I can do amazing things when I choose.

Happy?

I forced myself into action yesterday. In cartoonesque fashion, I pictured a numbing bubble coming from my solar plexus and consuming me, anaesthetising my pain and fears.

Of course there were ripples of hurt which threatened to pop said bubble. But I didn’t allow myself to dwell.

Instead, I sat with my legend planner – the new one I bought when I first realised I had issues at work – and planned how I was going to work on my house in the next 8 weeks.

For, I realised, with or without him my life will go on. That’s a fact.

I had my union meeting yesterday too and things are moving along. My settlement should be completed in the next few weeks. I will paid until Christmas but officially leave their employment at the end of August. This means that I can start a new job in September. I just need to find one.

So, I reasoned, that gave me eight weeks to spend time with my family and get my house sorted. There is tidying, cleaning and decorating to be done. As seems to be the annual tradition, the kids want to swap rooms. There’s plenty to do.

My numbing-bubble visualisation got me through the day. I thoroughly cleaned the lounge and made dinner. I didn’t allow myself to go back to bed. As I said, I can’t pretend that my hurt didn’t threaten to overwhelm me. I just didn’t let it.

Wildcard called me as much as usual yesterday. He was a little more chatty. The slow thaw continues. I even got a kiss goodnight. I actually plucked up the courage to tell him what my ex had said. I could see him thinking and processing that, and I know that he will need time to do so.

Later, I spoke to my London friend about her upcoming trip to see her boyfriend and we discussed Wildcard’s continued sulkiness. She advised that I be normal now and don’t bring it up again. She was surprised he was still moody- over nothing – but said it showed his jealousy. I took her advice on board.

So this morning, I chose to be happy. I put my makeup on before he called. I sent a lovely good morning message. And when he called before work, I was bright and cheerful.

“Why are you happy this day?”

“Because I love you.”

He pulled his usual face in attempt to tease me. His parents got in the car because they wanted taking somewhere, and Wildcard kept me on the phone the whole journey. Once they had left he asked me again:

“Why are you happy?”

I told him that I had spent the week crying and not sleeping and feeling sick. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was choosing to be happy.

He said little but again I could see this running through his mind.

As he parked up at work, I said my customary goodbye whilst he said his sulky one. But as I showered him with phone kisses and I love yous, there was a little amusement there which he tried to hide.

He is still sulking. I am still nervous. But there is nothing more I can do. I’ve apologised and cried till I couldn’t breathe. I’ve not slept and panicked and ruminated. I’ve tried to explain, ignore and now I choose to be happy. Not because I am, but because that is what I need to do.

Maybe I should have done things differently. Maybe he is overreacting. But I still love him. This will need discussing at some point but when he is ready.

In regards to my August trip- well, that remains to be seen. I could cancel, rearrange or…and here is a thought…actually go. I’ve looked at some hotels which aren’t too expensive. I have a week to make a decision. Let’s see what the next few days hold.

Oh.

For want of a better title, this little word with have to do. I do it a misjustice – those two letters, with a simple change of tone can cover a complex array if emotions. Which, considering, is quite apt.

I’m in a weird state of head- numbness. I say this because whilst my head feels devoid of emotion – never a good sign- my stomach is beating its own tune of woe and pain, signally the churning effects of anxiety and angst.

But my head? It could be a bit of shock or it could be a bit of ‘I told you’ and maybe ‘I was expecting this’. It maybe a bit of hope and a little disbelief in my own judgement.

So what’s the problem?

Let’s go back a day and I will fill you in.

After my previous post and the realisation that I hadn’t heard from Wildcard in five hours, I decided to send a quick text asking if he was OK and wishing him a good day with his family at the wedding.

I was rewarded with a series of video calls which spanned the rest of the afternoon and early evening. He included me in this wedding by showing me every part of it and by including his mother on the screen to wave at me and say hello. This was a real sign of thawing and I had more hope that the end of his sulking was nigh. His quick call when he got home showed that whilst a little kiss was permitted, the sulking hadn’t quite gone altogether.

Yesterday morning was similar. I had my morning call. No affection as such but he told me to take care and have a good day. He even, unsolicited, sent me a beautiful photo that he had taken of him and his mum. Then…nothing again. Knowing his shift patterns had changed a little, I waited and waited.

I had an online appointment at 3pm and so messaged at 2pm to let him know. I had a reply at 2.55pm and he let me know he was still working. I even got a heart. So yes, I was feeling positive we had turned a corner.

When he finished work he called and we chatted almost as normal. He told me his cousin had just had her baby and that they may go to visit. My departing kiss was declined but he called again within the hour on the way to visit and again when he got there. So, in terms of frequency and purpose all was well. Affection was hit and miss.

He called as he was leaving and then once he got home. His conversation, whilst lacking at times, was better. I even got the beginnings of some of his sillier, jokey behaviour which is a really good sign.

Am I giving you too much detail? For my own benefit as well as yours, I am trying to prove why I thought things were going the right way.

In the evening, he mentioned a gift for his birthday that I had been unable to bring as it had arrived after I had left. He asked if I had sent it yet. I said no, but I would just bring it with me. He frowned in surprise. ‘Why don’t you just send it?’ I replied that it would probably be quicker if I brought it when I came next.

‘Are you serious?’

I want to tell you that it was a look of pleasant surprise on his face but it wasn’t. ‘When are you coming?’

‘I don’t know. You said next month sometime. You said we may travel.’

What?‘ Genuinely, it was like he had no idea what I was talking about. My heart sank. So he hadn’t meant what he said.

He then turned to his mother and, glancing at me, I can only assume told her that I wanted to come back next month. He laughed a little as he spoke.

And that is the ‘oh’ moment for me. The lid has gone on the coffin, and whilst it may not be sealed yet, the fact there is a coffin says it all.

A man in love would want me to visit as soon and as often as possible. He would repeat what he had said before- that it was my home too, I could come when I wanted, the flights were cheap so come next month. He didn’t. He laughed.

Maybe it is surprise. Maybe it is shock I want to return so soon. Maybe I exhausted his poor mother. Maybe he was still angry. Maybe he just isn’t missing me yet. Maybe I have taken their words too literally. Maybe I am crazy.

This morning I have woken similarly numb. And dazed. I don’t know how or who to be. Do I message or not? Do I give up and leave it to him or not?

I’m lost.

Tears and fears and talking part one

It is hard not to feel like I am in the eye of the storm somehow. It has been a tumultuous 24 hours.

I know Wildcard, probably as much as he knows me. Perhaps a little less- his understanding of me sometimes is uncanny.

I said that I thought his anger came from me having travelled with my ex from the airport but also that I hadn’t told him soon enough. I knew this. But my desire to get home did override the common sense of discussing it with him before. I had tried to broach it in a call before I left the hotel and he didn’t take me on. And then, because it wasn’t certain, I didn’t mention it in the airport. I found out it was definite just before I boarded and it wasn’t the right time to mention it then.

When I landed, as requested, I messaged to say I was safe and he responded. I attempted to call him and he didn’t answer. Knowing him, he was too tired/half asleep but I know full well he could have answered. I was going to tell him then. I was anxious that he hadn’t answered. I was anxious about how my ex would be with me. I was tired and nervous and fraught. So I didn’t message to tell him how I was getting home. There may even have been a little stubbornness in there too – you don’t want to answer because you’re tired but I’m tired too, so why should I have to tell you this? The complexities of my mind.

He has continued to be ‘off’, ‘cold’ the last few days. I know him enough to know the stages of his annoyance:

  • ❄❄❄❄ Ends our calls with ‘talk later.’ Snappy and cold. Will ignore messages by reading and not responding. Doesn’t answer calls but will call me.
  • ❄❄❄ Calls perhaps a little less than normal. Calls are shorter. Frosty reception but periods of normalcy. No kisses, no I love yous, no take cares, no joking comments. Will not let me off the phone if I am upset to make sure I am OK but no real warmth as such. If I question him about the state of our relationship he is non-commital. May seem OK when he is talking to his family.
  • ❄❄ Calls are as frequent as normal. More normal conversation – asks if I am OK, talks about everyday things. Will tell me to take care, and sleep well. Sporadically will send kisses. Some calls start OK, some start with moods. Definite thawing. Still no ‘I love you’. Responds with ‘I know’ or ‘thank you’ if I say it to him. Will pass the phone to his family for me to say hello.
  • ❄ Some joking. Some kisses at the end of calls. Tells me not to be sad and checks I am OK but may seem annoyed whilst on calls. Often interchangeable with ❄❄ until there is a sudden return to normal, lovable and loving Wildcard.

You also need to remember that I’ve seen this from the other side – weeks of him barely speaking to his mum when they have rowed. I think I get off lightly in comparison though it doesn’t feel like it at the time.

So, yesterday we were moving between❄❄❄ and ❄❄. There was a five hour stint of no contact which is unusual but he seemed a little more himself. After an afternoon call I couldn’t take it any longer and had to ask him what was going on.

We started with messaging and then I just called. We were on the phone over an hour. What is clear is that he was as unhappy with me being in the car with my ex as the fact that I was late in telling him. For example, I told him how important he was to me, and he replied that he was ‘not that important if you get in the car with your ex’. He feels I should have asked him his opinion when the option came up.

Jealous, yes. Controlling? Maybe a little. This is very much a cultural thing. But part of me is thinking, if we are that serious that I need to confirm that with you, where is the engagement ring and the commitment from you? There is also a part of me that realises the depth of his feeling from his reaction. He loves me enough to keep calling and to be jealous but is angry all the same.

Anyway, there were a lot of tears on my part. I asked him straight out if he still loved me and wanted me (a stupid question if you consider my previous paragraph but at the time…) and I got ‘not important’ which is his stock phrase when he is being awkward.

I cried and he stayed on the phone. If I disappeared to blow my nose he would call me in panic until I returned. He asked why I was crying as he should be the one crying as I had done the bad thing. ??!!

At the end of the call, once I had stopped crying sufficiently, he told me to take care, sleep well and even gave me a kiss. Moments later he even messaged to say goodnight and tell me not to be sad which was a temporary move to ❄.

Today, he called me a number of times this morning as he was getting ready to go to a family wedding. He warned me he would be busy today and so would speak to me later. Probably a ❄❄ overall. Who knows, maybe being busy will help him miss me.

Day 15 and 16 – rosemary and scams

I’m sat in Seville in a cafe just outside the famous castle. That is my next stop.

It has been an eventful 24 hours.

I had an easy flight, simple arrival apart from a slightly over friendly Tunisian man who scared me a little. He was sat next to me on the plane – 30s, tall, smelled good, polite – and he told me that he lived in Seville but had just had a little holiday. When I had got on the plane I had seen him talking to a woman and children, putting suitcases into the baggage for them. I assumed that he was husband and had ended up sitting alone.

As the plane stopped he gallantly helped me with my case. As we stood waiting to get off, he asked me if I had a hotel booked and when I was flying home.

He then started to have a conversation in Spanish on his phone and I caught the word ‘English’ and the name of my hotel. Alarms went off.

As I stepped off the plane, I stopped to secure my bags and noticed that he was now alone, not with the mother and children. He walked ahead of me and we walked into the terminal. As we wove through the bollards towards passport control, he gave me a thumbs up. I noticed he continued to look at me. I admit, I was slightly freaked out by this point. He was in front of me in the queue, probably 6 or 7 people. I saw him turn, look at me, and then approach me, asking if I was OK. I replied that I was, thank you, and he returned to his place.

He turned out to be just a gentleman. Not lurking outside the airport or my hotel as my imagination dictated.

I can perhaps blame this for then missing my bus stop. Ironically, I had changed hotels to be close to the airport on a straight bus run. By the time I had realised and attempted to speak to a number of other passengers, I was about a 30 minute walk from my hotel.

It was scorching hot, I was alone (the Spaniards were in siesta), I don’t speak Spanish and I had little idea where I was.

Eventually I arrived at the hotel and to my room. After a chat with Wildcard and a shower, I attempted to get the bus into the city but failed. I walked back to the hotel, hot and sad and wishing I was with Wildcard.

This morning, I haven’t faired much better.

The taxi came late. I arrived at the airport for my covid test and discovered three things:

  • You didn’t need to book the test. I could have come at any point.
  • I didn’t need the expensive and time consuming PCR and could have had the rapid test.
  • Spanish nurses are evil. I swear she was trying to kill me.
  • Oh, and I had booked the test for the day before. Luckily, the handsome white coat clad male sorted it.

After surviving being impaled by a covid testing stick, I then struggled to find my way out of the airport to the ill-fated city bus. I spoke to two security guards who didn’t speak English, was sent to a post box and then eventually was saved by a good citizen who happened to speak excellent English.

A bus ride and google led walk later and I’m here.

Apart from being scammed by a Spanish gypsy woman who offered my rosemary, read my palm in Spanish and then wanted €10 – she got €5 – I have managed to find my way around ok, have eaten a delicious cheese and avocado toast which I was assured was gluten free and am about to go and look at the castle.

I should be proud of myself and invigorated. But all I want is to be back with him. He has just called and I could have cried. Again. I just wanted to be with him. Oh well.

Day 14 and 15 –

I’m in the airport. I’ve had a morning of tears, anxiety induced stomach ache and near panic attacks. I’ve frightened the life out of Wildcard and his family.

But first, a recount of yesterday.

After laughing over breakfast, because he saw how well his mother looks after me in comparison to him, we had a lazy morning.

In the afternoon though, with a picnic packed, we travelled to a local reservoir beauty spot. Finding a parasol shading table, Wildcard negotiated with the owner and went off to get fresh fish with his mum.

I sat with his dad and admired the views, the sun beating down and the wind blowing a warm breeze beneath the canopy. The reservoir stretched out, surrounding my mountains so dry and arid they looked like sand dunes. I could picture myself living there in the lakeside villa – horses and chickens, olive trees and herbs, my handsome husband and little children running around in the sun.

Wildcard returned and handed over the fish to the man who prepared and cooked it over fire. His mum had brought bread, salad, noodle salad and chicken. The fish came on a platter, covered in onions and tomatoes and spices. As before, Wildcard delicately de-boned my fish for me in a gallant gesture.

After eating, Wildcard decided to swim. He was nervous about me joining him but felt this was safer than the beach last week. His Dad however panicked as I stepped into the water and his mum ended up wading in with me until I reached Wildcard. Please be assured that despite being treated like a princess, I am sturdy and capable of swimming. The level of care they gave me the whole trip was astounding. They are a wonderful family.

We laughed and splashed and enjoyed the bath like water. I loved every second and wished only that I could have wrapped myself around him like the fountain scene in Cocktail.

We dried off in the sun then made our way over to his city. A mix of ancient and new, I absolutely loved it, although the driving and traffic scares the life out of me. His parents bought me a gift from the market, despite my protestations not to, and then we went to the local scenic spot to take in the panorama of the city. I was happy, so happy.

We had a very late tea, showers then retired to bed. Without a doubt we had the best love-making we had ever had. It is amazing how two people learn about each other’s bodies over even such a short time. I didn’t want him to leave but of course he had to. And even the epic sex couldn’t turn off my brain.

I wrote him four letters over the course of the night and morning. I wasn’t satisfied with any of them and they actually got more succinct each time. I thanked him for the holiday, told him that I loved him and his family. And then I told him that I felt that we wanted different things. I was sorry that I wasn’t what he wanted but I would always love him and wished a happy life for him.

Dramatic – possibly. Honest – definitely.

I didn’t give him any of them. This morning he came to my room as always and we had amazing love-making round 2. I swear he was trying to make my heart explode with love.

We had breakfast with his parents, and whilst I listened to the rhythmic sounds of their talking, my brain battled on in its determination to self sabotage or self preserve – I don’t know which.

The line comes from the fact that there has still been no conversation. I tried to instigate one a couple of times, and whilst he always reassured me of his love and want to be with me, there was nothing concrete. No plan, no conditions to be met. I don’t expect plain-sailing but I am a control freak who has absolutely no control at the moment.

I started to weep, a lump in my throat and my breakfast churning in my stomach. I excused myself as subtly as I could and dried my eyes, breathing in deeply in an attempt to gain control.

When I returned I fought to maintain that control. But I was questioned and as soon as his mum asked, concerned they had done something wrong, I burst into tears and hugged her. She told me again and again, in broken English and her own language, how I was always welcome and that she loved me being there which made me cry more.

Soon it was time to leave. My stomach ached with anxiety and grief. I felt sick and exhausted fighting the tears.

Putting on my shoes, Wildcard sat next to me and asked what was wrong. He said that I was acting like it was the last time and had he done something wrong? He told me again that I can come whenever I want.

The journey to the airport was torture. My stomach had spiraled into anxiety induced knots. I tried so hard to be calm but I just couldn’t. My brain surged with thoughts and emotions. I hated that they were so worried and kept trying to reassure them, telling them it was just nerves, which was true.

Just outside the city and airport, we took a detour to a local urban forest. It smelled of jasmine and the short walk gave me some repose from my feelings. I could feel his concern, never mind see it, and he kept telling me that if I was ill I should cancel my flight and rebook. I couldn’t tell him that would make no difference. I suspect I would feel that way no matter when I left.

I took some anxiety meds and something for my stomach and we drove the last ten minutes to the airport.

The whole family walked me to the doors of the airport but only Wildcard walked me through at first. He found us a place to sit, surreptitiously held my hand and asked me to talk.

He kept saying that I was making him nervous, that I was making him feel like I didn’t want to come back. His parents then walked in and took a seat a distance from us. He told me he loved me, those gorgeous dark brown eyes looking into mine, and that he had told me how serious he was about me the very first day I had arrived, over a year ago. He told me to stay if I wanted to stay, come back whenever I wanted.

At this point, I was well past my 2.5 hour entry point to the airport. I told him I would have to go. “So you want to leave me now?” I told him I never wanted to leave him and that was the problem. He said he needed to find a way to ‘kill those donkeys’ in my head, his term for my stupid thoughts.

I’m now sat on the plane. I am calmer than I was. I’m angry at myself for getting in such a state but knowing me, even if he had committed to me in blood I would still have wished not to leave.

Are you wondering if I am missing my children?

I am, but perhaps not as I have in the past. Let me explain.

My children have lived between houses for over three years now. At first, when they started to stay over at their dad’s, I hated it. But over time, my mind has accepted this new way of life. I know my children love me. I know they are safe. And I know I will see them soon.

I’ve called them every day that I was away. I’ve missed kissing my youngest’s cheeks, missed my elder son’s cheeky face when he is wrapping me round his little finger and my daughter’s passionate tirades about one thing or another. But I know they will be there when I return.

I can’t help feel that there is no certainty with Wildcard. Expectation is the fuel of broken dreams. I’ve convinced myself that if he was serious we would have had a conversation. That if he loved me as I loved him, he would be certain and secure.

And so, I fly on the first part of my journey home, heart heavy and soul sore, hoping that this is simply a lost battle with anxiety rather than the beginning of the end.

Day 14 – last

So, this is my last day.

I had a moment of shock yesterday when I realised the time of my flight, the 2.5 hours I needed to be there before my flight and the hour needed to get to the airport. Tomorrow, then, I will leave his home at 11.30am. In my head, I had the whole morning and early afternoon with him. Damn 24 hour clock.

He looked at me and said that I was acting like this was the final time I would be here. I can’t deny a part of me worries about that, like a part of me worries about every last scenario. What a waste of energy. If only I knew how to stop it. After 41 years, I still have no idea.

Today when Wildcard comes home from work, we may go out. He has talked of us going to a local beauty spot or maybe to the nearest city. I’m happy with both or either. I just want to be with him.

Disappointingly, neither of us woke early enough for our morning cuddle. He came in to my room, late for work, and gave me hasty kisses on my lips and neck, cold from the water he had used to wash. A missed opportunity. Hopefully not the last.