For me.

I’ve done it again, but this time it wasn’t my fault. I wrote and redrafted a post five days ago. And then I left it to check and post later. But whenever I do that, as with this time, I forget about it and don’t post it. I have a large number of unpublished but finished posts like that.

That’s why, often, my posts are published and they have mistakes. I will read them through of course but – as I was taught in Uni – if the writing is fresh, your eyes will read what your brain planned, ignoring the mistakes. Therefore, you won’t pick up all the mistakes just the glaring ones. This is where ‘fresh eyes’ come in- someone new to check, or leaving it a few days.

On this occasion, Covid is to blame. Oh yes. I’ve got it again. I’m now on my third day in bed and have a lovely crop of coldsores appearing around my nose for good measure.

And yet, I am pleasantly spritely. Why, I hear you ask?

Possibly, cabin fever. Maybe, I’m so well rested, I’m happy? No, I was really ill and only the last few hours have I started to feel well.

My last, unpublished post was a different matter. I talked about how flat I felt. How I have lost hope.

By stopping the obsessive thoughts about my future with Wildcard, I’d actually removed my hope for them too. So, by taking away all thoughts of them – by focusing on just the present- I’d removed the negative but all the positive too. I felt flat and well…everything is pointless. It’s what happens when you have no direction.

I know, I know. I obsess about him in general. My posts are mainly about him. I don’t know how to change that. My career is a distant, painful memory. I’m floundering in a present with no direction – the only thing I’m certain about, is that I want him.

Anyway.

Back to now. What has changed today?

I can’t tell you exactly. But I will try.

1) I watched a great Netflix series. Something I was genuinely interested in. Why is this important? Because having fun, particularly on your own, is important for your happiness. I’ve realised I do very little which is fun.

2) I called my ex-tutee and his family today to catch up. It was lovely speaking to him. Made me remember I have done some good in this world, even when I didn’t feel my best.

3) Despite not getting paid for this week, I’m getting more money than I thought. Hopefully, I will be ok.

4) Someone helped me this week – showed me a true and genuine kindness that I will never forget. It has come at a time of need financially and personally. And it felt like a gift from my Dad.

5) I’ve started Tony Robbins’ free five day challenge. Although it’s been pretty similar to a previous challenge I’ve done of his, it’s had a real positive effect on my thinking. That is what I need.

6) I spoke to a counselling service today who have offered me some support. I’m lacking someone to talk to, to help me process my overthinking. Counselling and CBT can help.

7) I realised something. In the three years of my relationship, we’ve dealt with Covid, my career going down the drain along with my confidence, me being over-emotional and everything else in between. He’s still here. He’s still loving me and calling me. I’m not my best and he’s still here.

As Tony Robbins says, what happens in life is for you not to you.

Do I really want wildcard here, when the rest of my life isn’t ready? No. Life is giving me a chance to sort myself out because that is the right thing to do whatever the outcome of my LDR.

As Tony says, I’m in the winter. A life cycle has ended for me. Winter can be long but underneath the surface, bulbs are starting to sprout and trees are storing energy for those glorious leaves again. I feel flat because I’ve not yet set my course, my direction….the ones I can choose.

Well, I’m going to. And I’m going to do it for me.

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Trip 6, Day 10: home

Five days late in posting. My apologies!

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

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

Just like that.

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

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

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

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

*******

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trip 6, Day 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No? Tell me you love me then.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trip 6, Day 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I have got you a present”

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

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

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

Trip 6, Day 3 – love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trip 6, Day 2 – stupid

I didn’t sleep well the first night. Don’t get me wrong, I was exhausted: I’d left the house over 12 hours before I had finally arrived at Wildcard’s home. And there’s no doubt the maelstrom of emotions of a trip like that take its toll. I just couldn’t sleep as I often can’t in a new place but more so because I was longing for him.

On a previous trip, also unable to sleep, he’d come to my room at 2am for cuddles and intimacy. I knew he wouldn’t as he had been grey with exhaustion, but I hoped he would.  I woke a few times from deep sleep, groggy but somehow internally alert,  just hoping.

Eventually, I woke at 7am and brushed my teeth, washed my face and applied some mascara so I felt presentable. Not long after 8am – early for him ❤️ – he came to my room and we quickly cuddled under the thick blankets, sheltering together from the cold of the room. Finally, finally, we had the intimacy I’d craved for hours..days…months. I lay with my face in his the warmth of his neck and I could feel his pulse on my lips. You can’t get much more sensual than that.

As he was working, I was ever conscious or the time and the fact he would have to leave me soon. But 9am came…9.30am came…10am came…and he was still there. He eventually got up to see whether breakfast was ready and we went to eat with his parents. And again, I just felt so happy. They’re my family now and I love them all so much.

Soon after though, he had to leave. I got changed and applied the rest of my makeup and then sat in the lounge. I painted, I read and watched a film. I ate beautiful, flavour -bursting sweet apples and waited. His mum asked whether I wanted dinner but smiled warmly when I said I wanted to wait for Wildcard to return home.

Again, surprisingly, he was home by 4.30 – much earlier than I anticipated. We had a beautiful dinner – his mum had gone all out with small herb and lemon fish, ‘meatballs’ made with fish and a gorgeous tomato sauce,  salad, fresh bread and a vegetable side dish full of garlic and lemon juice.

After dinner, we went back to his room and he suggested a film. Funnily enough, from making that suggestion as he walked into the room to getting to bed he’d changed his mind. He was tired again. He got comfortable and started to play his game ans I attempted to lie next to him, but I kept making him cold or pulled the covers to tight etc. He wasn’t unpleasant or sharp or anything other than pointing out his discomfort, but I guess my own tiredness made me emotional: I exclaimed that I couldn’t do anything right and a few angry tears escaped. He patiently explained that he was just telling me and encouraged me to get close again, unaware of my silly tears but probably knowing I was sulking.

Before long, his game abandoned, he held me close and we made love: tender and gentle and beautiful.

In the evening he went to the gym and I slept a little. On his return I showered, and then his mum presented the delicious New Year’s cake she had made. We ate huge slices with tea and Wildcard exclaimed that at only 8.30pm, we had started the New Year’s tradition a few hours too early and we all laughed but continued to eat the delicious cake. His mum, exhausted no doubt from the mammoth feast she’d prepared, retired to bed early.

I had a feeling New Year’s Eve would be quiet and I was correct. It was an ordinary night with the addition of best wishes and good cake. By 9.30pm, he was also ready to sleep.

This isn’t what had bothered me when I went to my/his room, stomach churning with anxiety and head clashing with anxious and obsessive thoughts. I can of course say this now, a day later, now those feelings were allowed to be aired and purged from my stupid head.

Day three wobbles have now officially become day two wobbles. I am certain that the overwhelm of emotions, the excitement, anticipation, travelling and -unfortunately- expectations no matter how much I try to ignore them – play their part. I’ve talked before about how our brain is programed to search for evidence of what we are thinking. ..

So his silence to my ‘I love you’ earlier…the way he’d pulled away too quickly from my kiss, not holding my hand when I tried to hold his, not returning the pure delight on my face when he came home from work…all of that had festered and built up all day. (See the sensible translation below)

My brain was now on high alert, I felt sick and I’d opened the floodgates to every fear I’ve continued to have for three years. I’m not good enough. He doesn’t find me attractive. He doesn’t love me like I love him. I’m annoying him with my constant need for physical touch.

Once he’d made his bed in his room, he came in to find me sat in bed with a full blown strop. Ooo I tried. I was determined not to start a row. I was certain I could avoid a Day three two wobble. I’d just keep quiet.

I think this was the longest I had ever held out. I said ‘nothing’, ‘I’m good’, ‘I’m fine’ over and over and over. I didn’t cry.  Problem is, I couldn’t  look him in the face, and my hands were wringing when they weren’t holding me together.

He was insistent, persistent and patient. Eventually, feeling sick to the stomach, I simply asked for a hug. He tried to barter for answers, but then got up and held me. And then made me tell him.

I explained the overwhelm, the confusion – am I too clingy, needy touchy-feely?

He told me he loved me kneeling on the bed so our faces were inches apart. He told me he loved me a lot. He told me he loved all my hugs and kisses but reminded me that this was very different for him as it’s not in his culture and also, he was just like that – joking and being awkward. Did I not know that?

I told him I did, explained some more, and he just kissed me and said he was sorry. We hugged and kissed some more before he was ready to sleep. Once in his own bed, he messaged again to say he loved me and to wish me Happy New Year and goodnight. I still cried of course. By this point I was angry with myself for getting in that state and causing yet another issue. But, after some soul searching and journal writing, I finally slept.

Sensible translation:

So his silence to my ‘I love you’ earlier he’d said it many, many times by that point. …the way he’d pulled away too quickly from my kiss, we were stood in the doorway, right in potential view of his parents. not holding my hand when I tried to hold his, he was joking and moments after refusing, had grabbed my hand in his and kissed it.  not returning the pure delight on my face when he came home from work… this one is just stupid.

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.

My Christmas present

Facebook was a game back then. I’d long ago disabled my real account, bored of the drama and conversely the day to day posts of the contents of someone’s sandwich.

The name was mine but in a different form. I was trying to be a new me. Upon advice, I was using Facebook rather than it use me – talking to strangers from far off places. Trying out socialising skills which were rusty and dusty and under-used. Not that I wasn’t selective – some people I just avoided no doubt like some avoided me.

I will never forget…

Then, one day, there was your request in my inbox. I opened it up to see your face and ‘wow’ left my lips before I smiled. You were single, so no harm. I could…practise my flirting. I could…learn more about a culture I was already intrigued by. I could talk to an attractive man, even for a short time.

I accepted. You messaged. I replied.

In those early days, I was shy and you were persistent. I was hesitant and you were patient.

It was just for fun though.

Until soon it wasn’t. My feelings grew. I was conflicted and torn, suspicious but hopeful. You made me laugh like I no one had ever done. You were consistent and dependable.

And then, less than two months later, it was Christmas. My first Christmas alone.

In the previous year, when Dad had died, I was still numb. I dazzled like a Christmas light, not allowing the grief to surface, determined after six months of loss that I would make Christmas special. I’d filled my house with people and love.

But that year, I was alone. My sisters were with their extended families. My children were with their Dad. And I felt it keenly. I was alone, not with my Dad.

You told me you wouldn’t leave me alone. On a day that means little to you, you made it mean everything to me. You called me, more than before, just to keep me company from thousands of miles away. You made me feel loved and wanted and special. You gave me more than I ever expected.

I love you loyalty and your patience, your integrity and your faith. I love your humour and your teasing, your dependability and your mind. I love your face and your body and your spirit and your soul.

That was the moment I fell in love with you. The time I felt the most alone, the most vulnerable, the most insignificant. That’s when I really knew that I loved you.

I love you.

Allies

I’ve had a tumultuous time since I last posted.

I spent some more time in my new school and loved it. I also braved a day on supply in a primary school. I don’t know why I was so nervous about it – and avoided it – but I loved my day there. It’s given my confidence that if the work in the special school is not for me, I would be happy working in a primary. It’s also confirmed, again, that I want to start my business. The work situation has settled for now and I am finished for Christmas. In the end, I’ve earned reasonable money the last two months so the pressure is off a little.

I’ve become increasingly aware of how much the end if my leadership career still affects me and my confidence. I thought I was over it but it’s clear I’m not.

The situation with my son continues. We’ve had dramas, periods of calm and full blown anxiety at times. Most of the time, our anxieties have proved to be only that of which I am very grateful. Unfortunately, some immature actions have alerted agencies and us as his parents to his vulnerability to be influenced by others. His SEN makes him both naive and impulsive and his weaker social skills are also not helping. Support is in place now and I’m, finally, beginning to feel we’ve bolted the horse in the stable (rather than when it’s already left, if you know that saying). I can’t pretend I’m not worried but there is some comfort.

My son’s key worker has been a real support and is actually an ex-teacher herself. He has become a real ally. We’ve had some frank conversations about what has happened to both of us and the state of the education system here. She’s given me faith but also insight that I’m not over what happened. I’ve been put forward for more counselling and I’ve accepted. I think it will be good for me and help to release the poison of the past.

Things will Wildcard have been good lately and it’s only 8 days until I fly out to him for my sixth visit. Similarly, there’s been a few events and realisations of late which are helping me to understand him and our situation a little clearer.

My Facebook friend – the one married to a man from Wildcard’s country – continues to be a real friend and source of comfort and understanding. We talk a few times a week and her situation and place within the online community has helped me understand to a greater level, how challenging a marriage of different cultures is – regardless of how much love you have. I think anyone in an LDR of this kind acknowledges the differences but is blinded by their love and wish for a union to really see how hard it can be. My friend, five years into closing the distance, is still learning and experiencing the challenges of different cultures.

Conversely, the World Cup had also highlighted a few things which have led to meaningful conversations with Wildcard. His relationship with his parents and his loyalty and dedication to them, is not just that of a son but also an integral part of his culture and religion. Being the last son there, the eldest son, he feels this responsibility keenly. And, being the eldest and in thar position of responsibility myself once, how can I not understand that?

We’ve had one moment of tension recently, when he mentioned how his brother and his then girlfriend (now wife) had travelled and resided together. This is forbidden in his religion and is something that Wildcard would never do. Unfortunately, my face portrayed my….well, jealousy of this time they’d had alone together. I love Wildcard’s parents, I really do but of course I would like to experience time with Wildcard alone where he is not on edge. Ironically, of course, even if he agreed to it, he would be more anxious than when his parents are there. Wildcard saw my jealous contemplations, questioned me as usual and became frustrated at what I said.

I’ve no doubt that at this current time, he’s doing the best he can. I love him for exactly who he is – I love that he has integrity and is a good man. I’d never want to change him, just for some alone time. I explained that to him and he later told me I had done nothing wrong. The moment passed and has been forgotten. But again, it’s highlighted the type of man he is and why things are as they are.

So, all in all, as the year comes to an end, I’m feeling some peace going into Christmas. I’ve a very busy week ahead of me before I travel but I’m looking forward to happy festivities with my family and then spending a week with the man I love.