Trip 4: day 4 …😔

It’s 5am. I did it again.

I’m finding this hard to write, pausing before every word because I don’t know how to explain. My feelings are undecided, confused. I don’t understand myself.

I don’t know where to start.

I will be succinct and factual. That’s something new for me, isn’t it?

I was angry with him. I lost my temper. OK.. so why?

He came home at lunch and everything was fine after the previous night’s hiccup. We spent the day on the sofa. He watched a national football game. We played a game of draughts. He watched a series on his phone and played his football computer game. Later, I asked if we could watch a film together and he said we could, in the evening. But when that time came, he said he was too tired and we would do it Sunday.

I got a quick kiss and a goodnight and he went to bed. I was disappointed and angry. I sent him a sarcastic message.

He didn’t see it. I then heard the music from his game and I lost it. I stormed out the bedroom, stood at the end of his bed, glared, and stomped back.

He followed.

I was angry. I said that I wasn’t his wife, I was his girlfriend and he needed to make an effort. Ouch. He replied that they are the same thing, aren’t they? I said: “I’m your wife when you put a ring on my finger.” Ouch. (I would still want an effort if we were married though, surely? I’ve been down that road.)

He was genuinely confounded. He laughed at first as we rolled off what he had done that day. But he had absolutely no idea what we could have done instead. He was confused and surprised.

Problem is, neither could I. This is why I am confused. This is why I am writing this at 5am to work it out.

Did I feel happy? Yes. He spent most of the day on the sofa with me, his feet in my lap. I enjoyed when we played the game and when we took 10 minutes to take a walk on his rooftop. I would take this over not being with him any day.

Was I frustrated? Yes. I’ve come a long way, spent a lot of money, to be sat on a couch watching him play a football game on his phone. I felt like I had made all the effort. Throughout the day, I sent pictures of him on his phone (with humorous but clearly frustrated captions) and at one point danced around the room to get his attention.

Did I enjoy the day? Yes. Did I want more? Yes.

Does effort = feelings? In my head, at that moment in time it certainly seems to.

He told me, there and then, “I don’t show my feelings.”

So, let’s unpick that right now.

I undoubtedly show and tell my feelings probably too much. Losing my dad taught me the importance of telling those you love how you feel as often as the feeling hits you. He shows his feelings, of course he does. But he is very guarded and I feel like there is a whole well of emotion hidden that I don’t comprehend. So, if he doesn’t or can’t spell it out for me, my over-imaginative brain makes up its own mind. As I’m anxious and afraid, it’s often negative.

He’d told me that he hadn’t wanted to cuddle and kiss in bed with me because it always leads to sex and he didn’t feel like having sex (you can imagine how my self esteem dealt with that one at first!) because he was tired and ill.

He’d told me that he hadn’t felt well all day (which I should have known, apparently) and that he had said we could watch a film on Sunday before my flight home. He said we had spent all afternoon and evening together on the sofa (true) so what did I want? What did I want to do?

What did I want…

Alone time. Holding hands. Cuddles. Kisses. Not worrying about his parents walking in. Being unguarded. It didn’t have to be sex. So that’s intimacy, overt signs of love.

What feelings did this situation trigger?

I associate low effort with low interest. My ex husband didn’t try, took me for granted. I eventually walked away. Alongside that, I believe that if we are not making an effort he will get bored and find someone else.

I don’t need taking out BUT if we had gone for a walk (it was raining) or a coffee, I would have felt special. If we had watched a film, it would have felt special because we were doing it together and his attention would have been on me, weirdly. We would have been alone in his room.

My self esteem states that if he doesn’t make an effort, he isn’t interested because he doesn’t tell me otherwise.

So….although I’m not usually bothered about material things or being taken out, when there is no other evidence (like him telling me) I have no other choice but to associate an engagement, a date, a gift, an activity, physical intimacy to his feelings.

Is that it? Is that the problem?

The argument ended with his frustration and my fear that I’d caused another row. I didn’t understand my own behaviour. Why was I arguing about something that deep down I wasn’t actually bothered about? I genuinely don’t care about going out if he doesn’t want to. Material objects are worthless without the thought behind them. I now realise, on some levels, that it is true. I do believe that, even if I seem like I am contradicting myself. I wasn’t bothered. I enjoyed sitting on the sofa with him, his feet on my lap or getting warm between my thighs. I enjoyed him winking at me when he caught me looking. But, as I have to use his actions to understand the depth of his feelings, perhaps I by extension am looking for the substantial always fearful that we are not.

He sat on the edge of the bed frustrated and said he didn’t understand me. Eventually he lay down, his arm draped over his eyes. I was knelt between his legs and rested my head on his lap, gazing into the distance and trying to figure what the hell was going on in my head. It raced from explanation to excuse, trying to understand that rush of anger over something so silly.

With my head on his lap, I kept apologising and telling him to go to bed. He didn’t and said nothing.

After a few moments he sat up and ran his hands up and down my arms. He then planted soft, soft kisses on my lips and cheeks. The kisses became more passionate. He half lifted me and twisted me towards the bed.

“Is this what you want?”

I told him that I had been happy with the kisses and that I knew he didn’t want to have sex so it was fine, we didn’t have to.

We made love instead.

Realisations

Sometimes my emotions come out of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I have a vague awareness of them. They dance about at the edge of my consciousness: teasing, hinting then disappearing temporarily with my metaphorical flick of disdain.

So when they do return, they return stronger than ever. My emotions and I may run the dance a few times before they explode into my vision, refusing to be subdued any longer.

I have known this about myself ever since my breakdown. My highly skilled counsellor made me see this – how dampening them down for so long just prolongs the inevitable .

I have learnt a little since then. I’ve learnt that I need time alone sometimes. In these moments, I may allow an emotion to float to the surface. I may even write about it on here a little. My technique is nowhere near perfected though. That is a definite.

All this information isn’t new. And it kind of depresses me (excuse the pun) that at 41, I still haven’t figured it all out. Is that what life is?

Tonight I had two realisations that may help my journey of helping myself.

I have talked of my eldest son previously: he has ADHD and is likely to have autism too although this is still being investigated.  Over the years, I have learned his triggers and have become better at understanding and managing them.

What I’ve never realised, is that I have my own too. Odd, as I have also written that I suspect that I have something too.

Tonight’s trigger resulted in another emotion filled dialogue with Wild Card. It’s not an argument.  But it’s not nice either.

In hindsight,  I realised the following:

  • There’s an external trigger.
  • I mull over it in my head
  • I try not to – try to be positive, ignore it
  • I fail and it turns in to either a spontaneous outburst or
  • He notices I’m mulling and makes me tell him
  • I tell him the surface issue
  • He doesn’t react how I want him to
  • The floodgates open – defences come down, and all sorts of buried thoughts and emotions erupt
  • He talks me down
  • I think that he is better off without me/I’m ruining our relationship
  • He calms me and eventually tell me what I needed to hear
  • I ponder and realise he was right all along

Of course, I wonder why he can’t tell me what I want to hear straight away. Cut out the middle man. Go straight to the soothing part.

I love everything about him. Yes, sometimes I wish he was a little more forthcoming. But I wouldn’t change him. Who he is now, is who I love. What I think I wish for says more about me than him.

And one of the things I love about him is the way he makes me think differently. Yes, it’s tough. He just to wade through emotions and preconditioned thoughts and ideas…but eventually he gets there. And when he does, something in my head shifts, just a little.

He tells me what I need to hear.

Truth is, I realise that I do indeed have triggers. Now I need to learn how to self soothe them. Deal with them. Not push them away, because then they grow stronger – from a two headed monster to a multi headed monster.

The second realisation, which again was pretty obvious now I know it, is that I try to self soothe with food.

The food numbs my brain, just a little. Some attention is siphoned off my problem and onto the food. The saltiness of the tortilla chips. The sweetness of the chocolate. My brain goes into an involuntary tug of war between problem and taste sensations. The more my problem wins, the more I cram into my mouth to balance it.

Then, one of two things happens.

A tsunami of binge-created guilt hits me. Success! My problem is now forgotten in the complete self loathing that is dominating my every thought. It’s a week trodden path of working out how much I’ve blown it, hating myself for doing it…etc etc.

The other is that I eat to the point of fullness or sickness. Once again, bingo! My physical feelings overpower anything else in my head. This is a pretty nasty one because it is a two hitter- the guilt surely follows the physical feeling.

Therefore, my realisation is that I eat to feel not to numb.

Now, I need to find out what to do about it

The justification of tears

I need to step away. Not because I love him any less, but because I can’t love him more.

Another call which ends in tears.

Tonight we laughed, and I mean laughed, at a stupid present I bought him. And it was stupid, there is no doubt about that.

So why did I cry?

Because he asked me why I wanted to send it. It was a rhetorical question – part of our shared joke. But the truth slammed into me.

I wanted to send it because I love him. Because I want to show him how much I love him. Because I want him to be happy.

How can my tears be making him happy? They can’t and they don’t.

Here is the simple truth behind every tear…

I’m nothing special. His previous girlfriends sent him presents. His previous girlfiends loved him passionately, just like me, and still do.

I’m no different than the others. Except…

I’m far, far away. I can’t kiss him gently to show my love. I can’t make him breakfast or go on long hand-held walks, sharing life. I can’t plan for our future because I don’t know how long that future will be. I can’t be there for him, physically, when things get tough.

I cry when I miss him. I cry when I’m disappointed I can’t see him. I cry when I think he can never love me like I love him. I cry when I think that one day, he is going to see I’m nothing special. I cry when each one of those girls try to get him back.

My philosophy in life has always been: if you work hard you can achieve. I am where I am through sheer hard work.

I can’t work any harder to show him my love, to show him that I am worth loving. Hard work can’t make me special.

I’m powerless. And so I cry.

Should I walk away? Give up now?

Are my tears, however justified, acid that is eroding his love and respect for me? The respect for myself?

I want him to be happy, more than anything. I want him to have a life filled with love and happiness. And no matter how hard I try, I don’t think I am enough. Because I can’t stand out. I can’t be any better than anyone else, because I am not.

An average girl, loving in an above average way. Love is not enough.

He told me that I am better than him because I try. All the gestures I make. He knows I love him. And he is happy.

I’m tired of Facebook and its LDRs. I’m tired of the success stories. I’m tired of the weddings. And now, as the months roll on, I’m scared of the failures and the break ups that appear daily.

But I’m scared of walking away. Giving up is not in my DNA, not without hard work. Not without an 100% conviction that I cannot do any more.

And so I cry because I don’t know what else to do.

But then, I think it is only fair to add that this is not the first time I have cried today or even nearly cried.

I nearly cried when my sister asked to borrow money again. Is that all I am good for?

I cried when my ex husband asked to borrow money again. He pays me nothing for the children. I will be, for the fourth year, buying all the Christmas and birthday presents again. And now he needs to borrow money.

I nearly cried when my boyfriend told me that the girl who keeps messaging him, despite him often ignoring said texts, told him that she loves him. He told her she was just a friend to him. He didn’t tell her about me. Yes, I know it is not his culture to have girlfriends. Yes, I know he is a very private person and doesn’t want a relative stranger to know his business. But it still hurt.

I nearly cried when I found out that my mum has visited my sister (in her bubble) and not me. Mum will drop presents off for all at my sister’s house this Christmas but won’t come to me.

I cried when my daughter stopped talking to me and only started again when she thought I was buying McDonald’s. I cried when my autistic son refused to eat his because they put cheese on even though we asked for it not to be on. I cried because apparently it was my fault when all I have done today is try to make him happy.

I cried as I walked home. I cried because I’m tired. I cried because I just want to be loved. I want to feel appreciated. I want my best to be good enough. And you know what? I want someone to do their best for me because I am worth that. I want to be important to someone and I feel important to no-one.

Oh, and I miss my dad.

Letting go… Just a little.

I want to say that everything is alright, but it isn’t. No matter how many ways I force myself to look at it, it isn’t.

Yesterday started off well. There was still an edge to him but he called as usual in the morning and we even laughed about our antics the night before.

In the afternoon I decided to text him as I was missing him. Just a little text. Maybe I shouldn’t. Who knows? But I was missing him so I did.

I got a response a few hours later: he’d been asleep. I called him and we chatted. Or, I should say, I did most of the talking, filling him in on my day. He was half asleep as he had just woken and he didn’t say a great deal, other than ask a few questions.

The call ended and my stomach sank.

He called me after he had eaten. Once again he was quiet. We spoke briefly then he said he would go. So, with my new impetus on being honest I asked why? He said he had nothing to talk about and he wanted to watch something. So, we are still doing this, are we? I said that there were lots of things we could talk about and I felt like he wasn’t even trying. His response? ‘Like what?’

I told him that I just wanted to be with him (he said ‘I know’) and this was making me feel that he didn’t want to be with me.

“That’s your problem, not mine.”

By this point he’d gone into defensive position (eyes shut like he’s going to sleep which he may well have been) and I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere. I said it was our problem as we were in a relationship. I told him I would go then. He shrugged his shoulders and said ‘If you want.’ I told him I didn’t want to.

I attempted another conversation with limited success and then I just gave up. I said goodnight, that I loved him and blew a kiss. I barely got a response.

I took an hour to reflect. If he wants to go, I just need to let him whether it’s because he’s still making the point, sulking or just wants to be alone. I’m getting nowhere otherwise. By pursing it, I’d once again nearly started an argument with him when he wasn’t in the mood.

So, I text to say I was sorry, that I just wanted to be with him because I missed him. I said goodnight and sent a kiss. An hour later, he sent me a kiss back.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking since then. As I said, it’s not good, however you look at it.

I can’t keep making excuses for his current behaviour. Maybe he is a little depressed – with the situation in his country I can hardly blame him. Maybe he’s still sulking. Maybe he is pulling away, despite what he says. Fact is, his moods at the moment are hurting me.

Perhaps I need to be stronger. Perhaps I need to have more faith in his insistence that he doesn’t have a problem with me. One thing I have realised, is that I can’t keep chasing him. It’s getting me nowhere.

So, I’m letting go, to an extent.

Courtesy of me.me

I’m going to text in the morning as I always do. But then, I’m going to give him space to contact me. I will check in with a text in the afternoon if I don’t hear from him. I still want him to know that I miss him, that I’m there if he wants me which is important if he is low.

If he wants to end a call, I will let him with a smile on my face. I can’t make him want to talk to me and so making an issue out of it is counterintuitive.

If he behaves in a way that upsets me or I am worried about anything, I will let him know. But at the moment, I’m not expecting him to want to talk like he did – if he is low, then he’s not going to want to. Likewise, if he’s pulling away this will just be more fuel to the fire.

My strategy is to check in, remind him that I’m here and I love him, but give him the space that he needs or wants at the moment. For whatever reason.

And in the meantime, I’m going to work on myself and my own resilience.

If he’s pulling away, there’s nothing I can do other than remind him occasionally that I still love him and want him but let him make his own decision. I need to use this time to prepare myself for the end, if this is what it is. It’s going to destroy me so mentally I need to prepare and limit the damage.

If he is low then he needs space not further problems. So again, check in, let him know I’m not going anywhere, but watch from a distance and see how this pans out. Having experienced poor mental health myself, I’m not going to run from him – these are unique and challenging times. But I need to learn about him and whether our relationship can be sustained. Maybe it can’t.

And if he’s still sulking? This is a red flag. It’s big enough that I need to decide whether I can cope with it or whether it’s a deal breaker. I’ve apologised enough. I’ve let my feelings be known. So if it is sulking, it will blow over, and I need to use this time to work out if I can deal with this in our relationship.

The caveat to this is that Ramadan and lockdown are having a major impact in many people’s lives. I can not under-estimate that. In my heart, I need to be sure that it’s not these things that are causing the issue. Which is why I’m letting go, for now. I’m stepping back and letting this play out and giving myself some space to think.

We learn and grow from relationships. Learning isn’t easy. We learn when things are not easy. This situation is giving me opportunity to learn about myself, about him and about us as a couple. That’s the normal part of a developing relationship. I just need to keep going. Whether this is the end or a crack in the plate (read my previous posts to understand this reference), maybe it is happening so I can learn from it. To calm down, refocus, prioritise myself again.

All I know is, nothing else seems to be working consistently so this is worth a shot. And whatever the reason for his behaviour, I still love

There’s a crack in the plate.

So, there is definitely a crack in the plate. Hairline, I think, but it’s still there.

I was not in a good place this morning. I was tired and emotionally worn out. I had lots of thoughts running through my head, some of them that I did not expect to see a few weeks ago:

Maybe he is not the person I thought he was.

Can I go on like this, if this is his pattern of behaviour for dealing with hurt?

His hurt and reaction is justified to a point – it was my fault. His sulking and, with sad realisation, his subsequent manipulation, was not justified.

Maybe this is the beginning of the end. And if it is, I say here with my hand on my heart, I will not love again. I’m done with it all.

Of course, it’s not over yet. In essence, I myself am sulking today. And there poses my first problem – don’t know how to act today. I’m sad and I don’t want to pretend that I’m happy – he will see through it anyway. I don’t want to be petulant and negative either.

Do you want to know what happened?

In anger, I said, “Why did you call me? Why did you call me if you don’t want to talk to me?”

So let’s go back to what I said. I was too ashamed to mention it in my first post.

Let’s add some context. He’s tired. The moment was pretty quiet and that was an angry outburst. We were doing what we have done for months – enjoying each other’s company even though there wasn’t much to say. We do it every day and I love it. His way of showing his love, whether he is aware of this or not, is the amount of time and contact he makes. He is usually the one to call me and include me in his daily life. And I love it.

So why did I say it? I was frustrated and angry. I missed him and wanted his attention. I wanted him to flirt and laugh with me. I wanted more than he was physically able to give me in that situation. So anxiety took over. Bad thoughts crept in. And, in an explosive outburst, I said that.

Maybe it doesn’t seem much to you. But I know him like he knows me. I have basically thrown a fundamental part of our relationship back in his face. I have cheapened it and made it feel like I never wanted all that contact and those times of just ‘hanging out’. I hurt him and criticised his wanting to just be with me.

The annoying part is, it is actually one of the things I really, really love about our relationship. Sure, it’s become more regular due to coronavirus and lock down. Before that, there were texts in the morning and a few videochats in the evening. We were both at work and had other elements to our lives. But that doesn’t mean I want it to change yet.

So, his response? (Please keep in mind what I’ve just said. I caused this.)

He first tried to end the call. Then, when I wouldn’t let him because I had realised what I had done, he said that he would no longer call me unless he had something to say. And at the moment, there wasn’t anything to say. He said that I could call him if I wanted to. Later , he said that maybe we should just have one videochat a day and texting. And I should choose a time when that should be.

So yesterday, true to his word, and the first day of sulking, he did not call me once. He responded to my usual morning text with a text instead of a call. I called him and we proceeded as usual, although he didn’t talk a great deal. I asked him when he would finish work as this would be the next time we would usually talk. He again said he wouldn’t call but did message me and we had a videochat again. At one point he asked if I had anything to say, which was of course a bitter reference to our argument. He then said that we would talk later.

We had two more conversations, at the usual times – I called him. The last one, he text me so I would call. It all sounds very childish, and it is. He’s hurt and he’s making a point. I get that. Does he need to do it this way? No. I’ve acknowledged the blame, I’ve apologised. But I also know from a couple of occasions before, that this is his pattern.

The last call is the one that has made him slip from his pedestal. The pedestal that I put him on.

It started off OK. I knew that he was still sulking and decided to continue to acknowledge his hurt, even though he denied it, and my guilt. He pursued his present thoughts… He would not call unless he had something to say. I could call him but maybe its best just once a day. Oh and this was my idea, not his.

He got the reaction he wanted. I told him how much I loved the way things were and that I didn’t want it to change. I reminded him of the many, many times where I have just been around him as he’s washed his car, or talked to his family and that I loved that. I acknowledged that I had said something hurtful that I didn’t mean and I was sorry. I told him that his calls were how I knew he loved me and that this was our relationship and I was happy with it. I also said that if we went back to just texts and one call then I was no better than any of his other ‘Facebook friends’.

Only when I was crying did he stop. He apologised repeatedly and asked me why I was crying (!).

Today is day two of sulking.

It’s better than yesterday and much better than the last time he behaved like this. But, he’s quiet – no joking, no laughing. I am getting kisses. I’ve been asked why I was calling and I replied that I just wanted to be with him. He didn’t respond but we stayed on the phone. He did text me spontaneously today too.

So, if he stays true to form, his mood will improve as the days go on until he’s back to normal. There is absolutely no point in trying to talk through this again when he’s in this mood. But talk about it we will.

For my part, this is yet another warning sign that I need to get control of my anxiety and insecurity and not allow myself to blurt out an emotional response. I need to listen to what he says and logically respond. If he’s tired, say goodnight and end the call. Likewise if he’s quiet, ask if he’s OK, try to engage and then end the call if he cant/won’t.

In a way he is probably right. Maybe we were spending too much time on the phone. Maybe it is time things change a little – the way I see it, I’m going to be back in work more from now on. Lockdown will end eventually and not only will this mean that both of our lives will be filled with family and hobbies – things to talk about! – but hopefully we will be able to talk about me visiting again.

Hidden – 26th April 2020 (daily prompt)

I always considered myself to be a very emotive person. I have strong emotions and I’m not afraid to show them. Or so I thought.

Years ago, when I was in my previous school, I took part in some leadership training. Part of the process was that I had to choose a number of colleagues to complete a detailed, anonymous, questionnaire about me. The results came back as a report.

The biggest surprise to me, without a shadow of a doubt, was that everyone had commented that I did not share my feelings. I was hard to read. I didn’t tell people what I was thinking on a personal level. I was astounded. I thought it was the opposite! I was too emotive, too open.

I considered this for some time and came to the conclusion that I had over-compensated for this belief I had in myself. My attempts at a poker face, hiding my emotions as a guise to look professional, had been all too successful. Later, when I moved schools, and ever conscious of this, my suspicions were confirmed when a new colleague commented upon how calm and effective I was – never showing any stress etc. At that time, I was as stressed as I had ever been, and so it confirmed my thinking.

Family, on being approached about the subject, said that I hid my emotions and feelings unless I wanted to. Then, and only then, would I openly share and discuss my thoughts and feelings openly. I was amazed at this view of me, so different from my own. Again, I could only conclude that this perception I had of myself – of being too open and emotive – had led to me hiding my feelings, more than I thought was possible.

And maybe, just maybe, I began to get better at hiding my own feelings from myself. When I had my burn out/break down three years ago, my counsellor and I discussed how I had repressed so many thoughts and feelings that eventually my pysche had fought back. Everything flooded my system to the point that I couldn’t function under the weight of it.

I don’t know how much I have changed, being honest. I know I am much more self aware now. More than I ever was. If anything, I now have to fight to control and manage my ever active thoughts and emotions.

There are some that are hidden though – I haven’t changed that much. Some I have under lock and key and don’t allow to surface often. But part of my recovery was to acknowledge that by hiding and repressing these thoughts and feelings I wasn’t dealing with them. And the more I didn’t deal with them the more power I gave them.

The difference now is, I choose when to deal with them. I monitor them and wait for the right time to think and deal. Sometimes I get it wrong – I’m human not a robot – and they overpower and overwhelm. Then, I have to deal with them with more urgency and learn from the process.

Ironically, the one person who seems to be able to read me easier than anyone else, my new boyfriend, is the source of many of my currently undealt-with-hidden thoughts and emotions. No one has ever been able to read me as accurately and as openly as he can. I swear that man can read my mind.

But with that comes fear. Fear that I may lose this man. Fear that I am reading him wrong. Fear that this is not what I feel it is. Those fears conjur all sorts of ideas and thoughts, many which unhappily become unhidden by their own volition or often by him seeing them before I do.

So, maybe that’s what true love is. Two lives where together, nothing can be hidden. I don’t know. But I really hope I’m proved right with him.

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.

One

It’s one minute past midnight. Today I am going to meet Wild Card.

Just one night’s sleep – if I can – and one day’s travel and I will be there.

What I can also tell you, is that there hasn’t been one emotion I haven’t felt today, I swear.

I can’t believe it’s here. I can’t believe I’m going. I can’t believe I will be finally near him.

I’m scared, excited, nervous, happy, anticipatory, guilty, embarrassed, annoyed…

When I drove out of work at 4pm, I basically said ‘oh my god’ repeatedly as I drove down the road. Over and over again. My close friend, the ‘Second’ fan, barely brought it upon herself to wish me a nice trip. She hasn’t asked me about him for weeks and I haven’t offered information. She’s been pretty down since her own ‘LDR’ (if it even was that) ended and then has had other personal issues. Yet I was annoyed that she didn’t seem to care at all about it enough to ask. Ah well.

Storm Dennis is apparently on his way. I’m not going to be happy if it delays what will always be a long day of travel. I’m trying not to think about it – there will be nothing I can do.

This morning I ummed and ahhed a it messaging first. He had already wished me Happy Valentines yesterday but I wanted to see what he would do without my intervention. But again, knowing I was busy this morning, I decided that I should message first.

His response was really sweet – he sent me a valentines ‘card’ of sorts which has a picture of us both on. I thought that was a lovely gesture and I wasnt expecting it.

A few hours later, and unsolicited, he sent his full name, address and phone number over as he knows my sisters are a little concerned at my trip. He also asked for the flight details again and it felt good – he was preparing for me. Thinking about me.

Aware that my sisters were visiting later, I called him when I got home from work. Surprisingly, after the positive day he was a little quiet. Then I found out he was ill and hadn’t slept all night so it made sense. Despite that, there were a couple of times when I saw ‘that’ smile although it appeared like he was trying not to.

He called again a little later on when my sisters were there and showed a little of his own insecurity again, asking if they were telling me not to go. He asked me if I was ready and I said yes. He then told me to spend my night with my sisters and kids. He asked me for a kiss, as usual, but then we both just looked at each other and giggled nervously. I guess that we had both thought the same thing: tomorrow we can do this in person.

Here’s hoping.

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.

Sweetness

I admit it, I’ve spent most of the evening crying. I’m much calmer now.

I haven’t fully processed everything and I have some decisions to make. But I’m going to sleep on it.

Wild Card was instrumental in calming me down. Intentionally too.

He called me early evening. Despite taking the phone to a darkened room in an attempt to hide my tear stained face, he knew straight away that I was upset. Of course he asked why. Not easy to explain to someone with English as their third language.

It meant that I had to simply it, and in doing so he made an interesting observation. If your sister wants to spend Christmas with your other sister, where is the problem? Why don’t you spend Christmas with one of your sisters too? He then made a slightly disparaging comment about Christmas, but only in the sense that we make so much of it when it’s the simplicity that is important.

It is not up to me to decide who my little sister shares Christmas Day with. It still hurts – a lot – but I’ve also realised that I am a victim of my own success. I work hard to be the ‘big sister’, to be there for them when my parents cannot. I protect them from my own feelings. They both genuinely believed that I wanted to be alone. I can’t really blame her for that, can I?

I’m still hurt. I’m still lonely. But my goodness, did Wild Card pull out the stops. By the end of the call I had been laughing for half of it. He ended it by repeatedly asking if I was OK, and was I going to cry again, no? was I sure? … So sweet. ☺️ My instantaneous anxiety at the end of the call – had I been too miserable, my face looked awful etc etc – was resolved by seeing we’d been on the phone for 50 minutes. No one would spend that much time trying to cheer a girl up whom they didn’t like.

His time and attention and simplicity of thought had calmed me down sufficiently to think again. Second helped too but not as explicitly.

He dropped his kids off at 5pm and called me on the way home. As expected, his text communications over the weekend had been understandably sparse but to call as he was driving home was sweet. My voice was thick with emotion, but luckily I could pass this off as my cold reasonably well. He told me he would call again once he got home.

And he did. This time, ironically thanks to Wild Card, I was calmer and he said immediately that I sounded better. I admitted that I had been upset earlier due to a disagreement with my sister. He didn’t ask about it or talk about it. But we talked for an hour whilst he packed his bags for his early morning flight to his homeland tomorrow.

The conversation felt like we had picked up where we left off. He was humorous, occasionally flirty and reminded me that there are only three weeks til we meet. Hearing him talk about his friends and family showed a sweeter side to him. I believe he is genuinely a nice guy.

Something has shifted though. Whilst he surprised me about talking of our promised date, I am not as excited as I was. I think as I sense the emotional unavailability of him, I’ve become less emotionally available for him. There is definitely emotional baggage regarding his ex.

He mentioned again his inability to communicate as much when away. I, again, reassured him and added that I wouldn’t text as much either as I would not want to interfere with his trip. He’s told me that he will call when he can, and has said he will on Tuesday when he is driving again.

Have I moved him into friendship zone unknowingly? I do care about him and want to meet him but the intensity has shifted somewhat. I still wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t meet. I can’t even say how I’d feel if we didn’t.

The lovely Naomi (her blog is amazing!) is right. I’ve fallen for Wild Card. Ridiculously stupid and a sure fire way of getting hurt, I know. But three video chats a day, laughter and sweetness will do that to a girl.