Trip 6, Day 3 – love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisement

Trip 6, day 1 (part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trip 6, Day 1 (part one)

7.45am

I’m on my first train.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.34am

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

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

14.25

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

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

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

Days 7 and 8: little

It’s the little things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

I’m so glad we have another week.

Trip 4: days 5-6, hands

Well, once again I am writing from an aeroplane seat, waiting for take off. I’ve struck lucky – only me on my row! It’s 7.40pm in the evening and I have a 3 hour flight before a hotel stay and early get-up for the train home.

I’m calm, I’m happy. That’s good isn’t it? Unfortunately, life has also taught me to be guarded and anxious, so let’s see how long this lasts.

I left off writing after a passionate post-argument making up session. Perhaps less said about that the better. Wow, will suffice.

Saturday morning, day 5, Wildcard came into my room and all was well. As it always is. I commented that his parents had got up early, and he replied that we would go out for the afternoon once he came home from work. I was surprised and happy and wracked with guilt about the argument the night before.

We had a wonderful day as we always do. He drove for hours and hours, taking me to much loved places. We took selfies with each other, photos with his parents and ate slices of sugar sweet apples as we travelled.

On the way back we went to his local city and walked through the market. He bought a jacket with some money his brother had sent him and I smiled as he tried it on, heart-warm from how handsome he looked and how much he wanted my opinion.

As we walked through the busy market, crammed with colour and noise, sellers and buyers, I clung on to his hand frightened of getting lost and heeding his warning.

He is never comfortable when I hold his hand and I have never understood why. I thought it must be his culture or perhaps he just doesn’t like it. He always holds my hand when he needs to keep me safe though. Later, tired after a long day and hugging each other as we waited for dinner, I again attempted to hold his hand and snuggled as close as I could get. He sleepily asked, ‘What are you doing?’ And I replied I was getting close to him. Turns out all the times I’ve said that and haven’t always got the response I wanted, was down to that he didn’t know what it meant. Equally, when he went to pull his hand away from me, I asked him why. His response surprised me and made me realise that we all have our hang-ups. He hates his hands, thinks they’re small and like a woman’s, and I recall a conversation long ago when he said that a girl had made an unpleasant comment to him about them. I told him he and his hands were perfect to me, which they are, and not feminine at all. They’re slender, yes, but definitely male. From that point on he did not pull away when I held his hand.

Bolstered by this honesty and acknowledging his sleepiness – a natural antidote to his tendency to greet meaningful conversations with humour and teasing – I went for it. Be proud of me WordPress. I told him that next time I come, I want to get engaged. He was shocked, surprised and jokingly pushed me away (antidote not working as planned). I tried not to get upset – he was joking after all and I figured an out-right no would have been said with more seriousness. We’d had a great day and I wasn’t going to spoil it by pushing further. We were called to dinner, ate, and I happily, and uneventfully, said goodnight without a murmur of sulking. I had learnt my lesson.

I woke early the next morning, having dreamt unpleasant dreams of my old school, forgetting and failing and then a fire that spread through my town as I raced through in a car I owned 18 years ago.

I messaged him and soon he was there.

I don’t pretend to be particularly experienced in the bedroom. I have had a conservative amount of partners but more than the four serious/semi serious relationships I’ve had. I’ve had good sex and bad sex, and a spectrum of in between. What I have never experienced, is what I have with him. He has had less partners than me, is younger, and yet somehow makes me feel something so uniquely wonderful it makes me question why anyone would have one night stands. And, yes, I have had them.

We had a good breakfast and I counted the hours left before my departure. I didn’t pack, nor did I go for my shower and eventually he asked why. I didn’t want to leave, pure and simple. Whilst my children are my blood, he is my heart.

We sat on the previously ill-fated sofa and he jokingly asked whether he was able to play his game and I laughed and agreed, as long as he told me he loved me. His brother then called and Wildcard spoke to him for a little while. Once finished, he told me about the problems his brother was having with his wife: her jealousy, control and sometimes violent behaviour. She’s Irish and according to Wildcard, has a mental health issue ‘with papers’ to prove it.

I listened in horror to what he told me. His brother is almost a prisoner – not allowed to leave the house without his paranoid wife, unable to call his family more than once a week, and all his wages going in to her account as she does not work. After three years, his brother still does not know the area or how to get out of the situation he is in.

One the one hand, we only have his version and I only have Wildcard’s but I have no reason to disbelieve him. I can understand the jealousy to a point (I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t) but what she is doing can not be making either of them happy and she is definitely hurting his brother and his parents – and why anyone would want to hurt them I don’t know.

Somehow, Wildcard being afraid of marriage and wary about the move to the UK started to make more and more sense.

To be continued.

Trip 4: day 2, travel and arrival

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

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

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

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

******

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

Trip four: Day two

I’m hungry. Urgh.

I have a 25 minute wait until my gate opens. The airport is busy, even at 6am, and I have found a comfortable spot I don’t want to relinquish. Oh, the trials of solo travel.

I slept fitfully last night, in part due to the strange room, and the rest due to noise and knowing I needed to get up at 4.30am.

A lot of the darkness has cleared however, knowing grief, which unfortunately I do, it will come again… but I’m safe for now.

I feel pretty today. I’m wearing a baby pink jumper with a cut out back, comfy jeans and black pumps. Somehow, washing my hair in whatever Holiday Inn provided in the shower has defined my natural curls. I feel cute. I’m just hoping that this lasts until 4pm when I finally arrived at my destination.

I remember speaking once to my London friend, and her saying that she hoped her boyfriend realised the difficulties of getting over there. In truth, neither he nor Wildcard have any idea. Searching for dates and tickets, getting time off, sorting kids and household and pets, insurance, currency, covid tests, train tickets, hotels. And then, for me, a day and a half of travel. Unfortunately, there is no direct route to his city from the north of England, so I have to travel to London or get connecting flights. It so happens that on this trip, to maximise the short time I am there, I’ve had to get a connecting flight anyway.

I will be honest, I wanted to throw this is his face last night when we had our little bicker. I didn’t, because I knew the bickering was my fault. Plus, he would retort that it was my choice to come, and my choice to come now. Which is true.

Yesterday, tired-grieving me allowed herself to fall into the always-unhelpful pity party which is: it is not like it was when I first came.

Of course it isn’t. It never can be. No, he didn’t message me constantly yesterday, but he was working and he didn’t the first time I came. I allowed that, and a simple and innocent comment from him (do you want me to go whilst you are eating?) To build into a sulky spat which caused an upset. Ah well. All is OK now.

And they have just called us to board early. Result!

Day one, trip four

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

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

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

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

Grave

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

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

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

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

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

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

I didn’t sleep well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can’t wait to see him.

Just

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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