Trip 5, day 3: The switch.

I can hear the crackle of the open fire. Something delicious is on its way for dinner.

It’s been another lazy day. So far, apart from a mild hiccup last night, Day 3 wobbles have not surfaced. That’s not to say they’re not there- they are – but I’m managing them. Just about.

I’ve read two books, doodled, listened to music, played online games, played cards, and stared at Wildcard any chance I get.

It’s very hot here. Too hot to venture out. I’m enjoying relaxing, I really am. Honest.

I keep remembering that this is his holiday too. He needs to relax even more than me. He’s not had a holiday in two years. And believe me, it’s not that I want to be pff out every day either. I love just being close to him. It’s just…I don’t have the means to entertain myself like I do at home. At home there is always something to be done. Here? Nothing.

There’s always thinking. I have the time and capacity for that. I love him with an astounding complexity. There’s no other way to describe it.

He’s sleeping now.

******

The meal was delicious.

I will admit, I did start to feel a little…restless. We played cards briefly, but I didn’t find a game that he would latch onto so it was a couple of games and then he’d had enough. I drew, I read. Yup- restless.

Maybe ‘restless’ is another cause of Day 3 wobbles.

I tried hard, I really did. I acknowledged that my big feelings were affecting me. I tried my best not to let them escalate or alter my behaviour. Admittedly, I was a little quieter today. But that’s ok. No outbursts, reduced sulking, no arguments.

And then, it happened.

In one of our jokey moments, I’d whined about wanting affection ( I literally whine to torment him – very fun). He didn’t understand however, so I explained it to him by stroking his arm and squeezing his hand. He replied that I wanted to be treated like a pet? That man has a real sense of humour. 😆

He must have taken it on board though. A few hours later, to my surprise, he reached out and stroked my hand and arm. I couldn’t believe it.

Let’s be clear here, he does touch me. His feet always find themselves in my lap or nestled behind my back. He will sometimes steal a kiss as he walks past. He slaps my bottom. When we are alone we cuddle and entwine legs and arms but we’re just not alone very much. To put this in context, it’s not his culture to have regular PDA. And I probably want far more than my fair share as I figure I’ve missed out on it for months and I’m a romantic. And he is irresistible. But…well, there isn’t a lot of it. Or, enough of it.

So, as I stared dumbfounded our hands, his hand swirling patterns on my skin, I got a lump in my throat. I turned away and admittedly…there were few tears. The fan was the most interesting thing in the room. As always, he noticed. He asked why I was upset and after a pause I replied, “because you don’t touch me like that very often.” He was a little shocked.

Since then? Woah. I’ve had stolen kisses at every opportunity. In the car he grabbed my hand in between gear changes (he has never done that before). He’s caressed my skin. It’s like I’ve flipped the switch somehow.

And I wonder if, in this circumstance, it’s about what you don’t know. They’re not a physically demonstrative family outside the European norm of two kisses on the cheeks. He’s never brought a girlfriend home before – probably never spent such a prolonged time with one. He’s a man set in his ways each day.

Of course, there’s a good chance he will forget this all tomorrow. But for today? We’ve survived Day 3 wonderfully.

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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.

Patience and understanding

My mood is very much like the weather at the moment. Beautiful blue sky meet dark clouds.

I’m terms of the amount of contact yesterday, Wild Card called me as normal (apart from the late call in the morning). Our videochats lasted as long as normal. He however, is still not.

I think to myself: he would not call and stay on the phone unless he wanted to see me and be with me. He has no need to prolong this relationship if unhappy. There is no shortage of women interested in him. I try to stay positive and jovial even. Whatever his problem is, I don’t want to add to it anymore. He said I’ve done nothing wrong and it isn’t me, so I have to believe him.

Last night’s last call was a little more typical. He actually cracked some jokes and made me laugh for a while. I actually felt quite emotional… Like he was coming back to me.

But the affection is still missing from his calls. I don’t know if he’s just not feeling it, or he’s trying to prove a point. (And irrational brain wonders if he has met someone else or he’s trying to pull away but we are ignoring irrational brain at the moment.)

In the end, who knows? Only him. There’s nothing I can do but trust he will tell me if I have annoyed him, which he usually does, and try to be supportive and positive.

Last night I tried to research Ramadan and its effects a little more and there is evidence that it affects mood and behaviour. He’s definitely not his cheery self but as he is still making contact, I have to believe that is what it is.

Today he has called as normal – on the way to work and on the way home and as he shopped. Parts of our conversation almost felt like normal. I also spoke to his mother again – he would not have me in the car with her, or speaking to her, if he was pulling away from our relationship.

So, patience, understanding and logical thinking is the order of the day.

Hands – 6th April, 2020 (daily prompt)

From afar, his hands dance
to the symphony of his voice
and I look on, mesmerised.

I watch as they massage his forehead absent-mindedly,
Or stroke his soft lips when he is deep in thought.
I’ve watched them drive, and cook and give him food and drink.
I’ve watched them dress him and wash him.
I’ve watched those hands.

I’ve felt those hands.
The first touch, a tender stroke of my hair down my back.
The next, they were holding my hands and pulling me closer for the first, gentle kiss.
And then, brushing my hair back,
hands in my hair as he kissed deeper.
I’ve felt those hands:
Unbutton my blouse,
Caress my skin,
Knead and squeeze,
Tickle and stroke.
Those hands
… have loved me
as I love him who
owns them.



The sharing, the look, the love.

The share… A mixture of feelings. Intrepidation as I walk through the garden because I try to see it with fresh eyes, their eyes. I want them to love it which is bizarre in itself as they may never get to see it in person. A sobering thought.

After, I hastily show them as it was: pictures of long ago, of a time when my father would be seen daily with his hoe or his wheelbarrow. His mother smiles and compliments and I am happy.

What are they thinking? Why does it matter so much? Why did he want me to show them?

The call ends, for now.

The look… Later, we are laughing again. He pauses in his mimicry and mischievousness to look at me, eyes crinkled in a smile. I know that look, love that look, as I know it mirrors mine. He disappears for a moment and then when he returns I watch him. I’m always watching him.

He’s preparing some food and whilst he does, a look of such intensity passes his face. In the hours and hours of my study of his face this look is new. At first it excites: it shows off his deep dark eyes well, his full lips pursed invitingly. But, within moments, my attraction is forgotten. I sense that this face is not as it should be.

I ask if he is OK, and he says yes but I know better.

We walk to his room and he lies down, his head resting on his hand, on his pillow. There is sadness on his face.

And so the dance begins… The to and fro, the questions and answers, the hiding and seeking. Eventually he tells me.

As he was talking with me, he had remembered something he had watched on the news earlier that day. It had come to him and replayed in his mind and had made him sad. He asked if I wanted to see and I agreed because I wanted to understand this transformation in him.

I watch. The boy, small and slight, frightened and alone, is led out of the house. The picture is fuzzy but you can see the little mask on his face. The paramedics are gentle, caring, as he is lifted into the ambulance. Another follows with his bags. Despite this care, there is the knowledge that this little boy is now alone, at 4 years, carrying a virus that he may not survive.

My heart aches for the boy. As a mother…as a human being, you cannot help be touched by that video and all its implications.

But my heart aches for my man too. For his grief. For the way the memory of that video could transform him, so quickly. My heart fills with love for this affectionate and compassionate man and I wish, more than anything, that I could be with him so that my love could pour into him and soothe his pain.

Another day, another ending.

The share… He is lying on his bed again and we are talking. His mother enters and sits with him. He begins to translate. I watch his face as he turns to her, listens, concentrating, and I can hear the lilt and tumble of those words and sounds that I can not understand but love so much. He turns to me then and translates and I write down his instructions.

This carries on for a little while. Occasionally I ask questions, sometimes he mimes to clarify. I’m filled with pride for him as he explains in a language he claims he is not good at but I know better. Hours of us talking every day have helped him and I am proud of that too. Equally though, I can see the concentration on his face and the occasional frustration too.

“You know I get nervous when I have to talk like that and I am trying to listen to my mother and then find the words to tell you. It’s exhausting.” He sees my smile, my laugh and says “but you like it though, don’t you? You like seeing me like that?” He laughs himself but the chance to reply or explain is taken from me as the call has to end abruptly.

The look… Later. Another call. Laughter, laughter, laughter. My sides ache, tears run down my face… And yet, I still see that moment. The moment when he is laughing too, uncontrollably, so much so that he pauses his performance and we just laugh together.

And although he is laughing too, I know this is all for me. I see it in the way he watches me, his smiles at my laughter. He continues until I can barely breathe.

But then he tires and so do I. The joking slows. His head rests on his hand, on his pillow. And at that moment I am overwhelmed. He looks at me with such intensity and love. My heart fills with love and it aches to be near him, my body to touch him, my love to pour into him. I’ve never wanted him so much in all our time together… Our bodies and souls to connect physically as they have just done mentally in our shared laughter.

“What’s this face? I’ve not seen this face before. Tell me what’s on your mind..” and the dance begins, the to and the fro, the questions and answers. I don’t tell him but the explanation is not needed anyway. Within seconds he tells me: knowing me and reading me with ease, as he always does.

As the day before, the call ends with love.

“I love you, so much baby” His voice is soft and a little gruff and the sound and sight of his kisses threaten to overwhelm me.

He watches and waits for mine and I send them, my heart and soul willing for the magic to transport the gesture over time and place so he may feel just a little of what I feel for him.

My worst enemy is…

Definitely myself. Or my errant, spontaneous and often negative, thoughts.

I had an hour long chat yesterday morning with Wild Card before I went shopping. I actually enjoyed shopping for once… Mainly because I discovered I have now dropped three dress sizes. Yes three. So shopping became pleasurable, particularly as I was buying clothes for my trip to see Wild Card which is now less than two weeks away…

I spent the afternoon with my friend, of course dissecting the situation with him. She’s supportive, honest, and not overly negative. She asked more about my thoughts for the future and I just told her that I am enjoying this one step at a time. And I’ve been telling my head that ever since. Can I cope with years of this? What if he doesn’t like me when I get there? Nerves, anticipation, paranoia… Just focus on one step at a time.

Back to being my own worst enemy…

I got home late afternoon and as I hadn’t heard from him all day, sent a message. An hour and a half later there had been no response. I don’t have to say any more do I? My head was jumping to its own conclusions as usual. But, thinking about my recent training, I tried thinking logically and sensibly… He always calls back. He never misses. He has his own life – maybe he was just busy. I’ve missed his texts before! And he’s told me to call when I want… So, I did.

And of course, everything was fine. He was out in the city with his family. His brother was getting his hair cut, so Wild Card took me on a little walk so I could see the surroundings. He kept asking me what I thought. As he got back to the car, he told me he would call me later.

Fifteen minutes later he was calling again, this time showing me a shopping precinct. It was amazing to see it and made me even more excited for my visit. In some ways it clarified my expectations too.

So, my stupid head thought the worst and in return he was as attentive and thoughtful as ever, showing me his world and wanting my opinion on it. He didn’t need to do any of that.

That should be enough, shouldn’t it? How many times does he need to prove those negative thoughts wrong? But oh no, my over active imagination decided to start again today…

I had my usual ‘good morning’ text. So far so good. I got home and the clock steadily worked its way to six and so the anticipation started to build, as usual. My kids are home, so of course their needs come first, so I work to get everything done before he calls. At half six, I sit down and I hadn’t heard anything… And then I heard the familiar ping of my phone.

Butterflies dancing in my stomach, I opened messenger to see that he has sent me a video. I waited, rather impatiently, for it to download.

It was an Ed Sheeran video of ‘Perfect’, with the lyrics in both his first language and English. I think it might be one of the most romantic things he’s done and my heart just swelled. (Read the lyrics and you’ll know what I mean.)

But was he being romantic or was he just sending me a song he liked? If I assume he was being romantic and he wasn’t, it will be really awkward. How to answer… I send a kiss face and said ‘I love that song’. Neutral, I thought.

Ten minutes later… No response. How the hell can he send that and then not respond or even read my message?

Oh. He had sent 45 minutes before it had finally downloaded. Grrrr.

Nothing for it but to call him…. And he’s on the phone.

To who? Obviously another woman. He’s probably sent it to all of us and she responded first. I actually stopped myself at this point. What on earth was I doing? He’s just sent something really romantic and I’m being negative. Again. So I reasoned with myself. He’s told you that he would not sit at home on the phone with another woman when his parents know about me. It’s probably his brother or his friend or something. He will call back.

Which he did. But when I answered, he wasn’t at home. He was out for a walk. Which meant he could have been on the phone to another woman. What the hell is wrong with me?! We spoke very briefly but it was hard to hear so he said he would call me when he got home.

So when he called back he knew instantly, instantly, there was something wrong. Even though I’d given myself a stern telling off for jumping to conclusions. But he knew. It didn’t matter how much I smiled and said I was fine, he kept asking. He said he knew me and I wasn’t acting the same. Did I not like the music he sent me? At this point I had even asked him if he sent it to be romantic. He replied that he loved me and thought about me all the time and he liked the song and found it in our languages… Did I not want him to be romantic? He asked if it was work, my family, had he done something to upset me… He even mentioned the fact he had been on the phone but I did such a good job of saying ‘what?!’ that he changed the subject and kept questioning me. Yeah, because you realised you were not at home… He even pulled the… ‘if you love me and want me, you need to tell me what’s wrong’ tactic.

Sure, I’m going to tell you that I became insanely jealous and paranoid when you’ve done nothing more than be on the phone when I called.

Luckily, for me, at this point my youngest came in to the room and dominated the conversation for a while. And yes, Wild Card is brilliant with him. Swoon.

The conversation ended not long after that as my son needed to go to bed and Wild Card had overheard his Dad in the next room saying something about a bereavement. He blew kisses at me and told me to not be sad. I told him I wasn’t, but clearly I hadn’t convinced him.

What is wrong with me? Really, I mean what is wrong? The facts speak for themselves. I’ve got to stop jumping to conclusions and stick with the facts. I keep hoping that a week with him, confirming that we both feel the same and I will stop worrying so much.

But. My own worst enemy isn’t so sure I can manage a worry free existence.

The brakes are failing

I’m trying very, very hard to pause. I promise you I am. Promise.

The problem is, they’re not making it easy for me. At. All.

Wild Card is just… Dreamy. I don’t know what else to say. Since Christmas, he’s taken to calling me on his lunch, on his way home from work and then at night. And I eagerly anticipate every single call. Pathetic, hey?

New Year’s Eve was the only time where our chats were more brief. He called on his lunch but then I didn’t get any contact when he finished work. He then called on his way out. I was with my family, he was on the way to his. It was short but sweet. Sure, it quelled the pangs for the rest of the night but I missed him. He messaged me after midnight and said we would speak the next day.

I will admit, I used all my feminine wiles yesterday. It was New Year’s Day so I had an excuse to get dressed up and look nice but I was very conscious that he was going to call and I was planning to use the occasion as an excuse…

My hair was still quite wavy and styled from the night before. I added a little more eyeliner than usual but more in shaping my eyes rather than thickening the line. I put a neutral lipstick on. Then there was that top.

You know which one I mean. The one you always feel good in and wish you had an excuse to wear more often. Mine is a black, slightly glittery, deep V neck and V backed jumper. It dips just the right amount, slides slightly off my shoulders and fits and skims perfectly over my body. I knew what I was doing when I put it on.

Luckily for me, he called just as I had finished getting ready and was in the middle of making a morning coffee. His reaction to my appearance was exactly as I would have hoped. He said how beautiful I looked and he loved my hair and my eyes…

In fact, he was really affectionate throughout the conversation and again at night when he called once my family had gone home. And let’s just say, we’ve both discovered that facial expression where you look at each other and know you’re thinking (or wishing) for the same thing. So hot. Yup, brakes are failing big time.

This evening’s conversation was equally lovely. We talked about my work, my daughters’ up and coming exams and his surprise that I am painting my living room tomorrow. He found that very amusing and said he wants to watch. He then listed all my ‘skills’ and asked me what else I could do. We sang together, him putting on a silly voice, and we had the usual laughing and giggling on my part. And then it got a bit serious, just out of the blue.

He asked why I liked him, his face straight and sincere. He asked about my thoughts on the future (although he didn’t say that word and it took me a while to understand), is this what I wanted? He then said, ‘I just want you to be happy. Whatever you want, me or not, I want you to be happy’. Woah.

I told him that he made me happy, and that I was happy with the way things were but I was looking forward to meeting him in six weeks time. I then asked if he was happy with the situation and he said he was. He checked I was OK and not upset (admittedly the rapid change in conversation had altered my smile to a concern, as I wondered where this was coming from) before telling me to think of him as he left to get his dinner.

What can I say to that? It appears he has moments of insecurity as much as I do. And, I think his brakes are failing as much as mine are. We both know this might not work. We’ve acknowledged that when we meet we may feel differently. But I sense that both of us are feeling things, the more that time goes on.

You’ve got to take risks in life and he is a risk I’m willing to take. There’s still six weeks left, still time for things to change. End, even. But I hope from the bottom of my heart they don’t. I want to meet him. And even if, when we meet, there’s no romance or no promise of a future together, I still know that I will enjoy his company and the adventure it will be.

I don’t know if you noticed but I said, ‘they’re not making it easy for me.’

This morning, I had resolved to cut ties with Second. I didn’t know how I was to do it, but I feel more and more that meeting him in just over two weeks time isn’t right. Even though part of me still wants to.

So, of course, because I’d made that decision, he somehow becomes Mr Attentive. I got a phonecall this morning and then a prolonged text chat this evening. It felt like it was back to normal again.

I like the man. I enjoy talking to him. I wonder what might have been and think about when he was my focus and Wild Card was just my distraction – my flirtation – to keep me and my newly-resurrected feelings grounded. Oh how things have changed.

I don’t want to hedge my bets anymore. It’s feeling more and more dishonest.

Damn you, faulty brakes and unleashed feelings.