Going the Distance


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Mathew called me. “Baby, I am thinking about re-enlisting,” he said.

All I could do was sit and stare blankly at the wall. No, I thought. I couldn’t be apart from him anymore.

“Mathew, don’t! Please don’t. I can’t go another year apart!” I replied.

I knew that this topic would come up again. It had four times before.

Don’t get me wrong, I am proud that Mathew is serving in the military, but our relationship is different than others. We are 2000 miles apart and if Mathew, my fiancé, were to re-enlist, we would be separated for another year before we could be in each other’s arms again.

In the five years we have been a couple, we have seen each other  four months total. That is a lot of time apart!

For some, the distance is too great and the time spent apart is a deal breaker. Yet others find a way to make it work.

The Distance

Mathew is in California; I am in South Carolina.

California is home of Hollywood and surfers on the Pacific Coast; South Carolina, birthplace of the Civil War and home to Southern belles on the Atlantic Coast.

On these two opposite ends of the country are two hearts with two different priorities keeping us apart; the East Coast college girl and the West Coast Marine. This problem forced Mathew  not to sign the re-enlistment papers. He can’t do it anymore. The distance is too much.

How do we make it work? We constantly stay in touch. We text each other throughout the day, sending little messages here and there just to show we are thinking about one another. The phone calls every night range from one to two hours. We fit in Skype dates every now and then.

Field ops and training exercises can take Mathew away from a phone for days and it is times like these when I will barely hear from him. These can be the hardest moments. Once you get used to really long phone calls, it feels like you are going through a relapse of an addiction. The addiction is hearing his voice before going to bed.

Being in love is a beautiful thing. Experiencing it is another. That’s something I miss about seeing Mat every day during one of his visits. I miss holding his hand, I miss touching his skin, I miss cuddling on the couch, I miss talking face to face, I miss looking into his eyes, and I miss feeling his lips on mine.

What I miss even more are the memories we could be making.

Sometimes, as I walk through the mall or stroll downtown, I see couples snuggle up against one another in the cold weather. I see couples holding hands or draping arms around their shoulders as they walk the streets. When I am at a club I get jealous of the slow dancing couples, wishing Mat were there to dance right along with me.

There are nights when I find that my day was rough, and all I want is a hug from him, but he isn’t here. I feel the tears fall, not knowing why I suddenly feel the urge to cry, but it always relates to missing him.

I admit, the distance between us is too much, and I wish that California would push its way through the states and trade places with North Carolina. Instead, I must deal with the expensive, five-hour flights until we are together again.

Long distance is not an experience everyone should endure. It takes a strong heart and a committed soul to be separated for long periods of time. Some couples feel as though they need to see each other every day in order to make the relationship work, others can go a few days without seeing their partner and be fine. The separation can strain a relationship, causing it to fall into pieces. This is why I say only few couples can deal with being apart for long periods of time.

I cannot wait to see Mat again a month from now when he leaves the Marines Corp for good. We will no longer be apart for more than a week at a time. We will no longer have to rely on phone calls and text messages to make it through the day. We will no longer look at one another through photographs and webcams. We will look at each other, face to face, eye to eye. I cannot wait until the time comes when we will be together until death do us part.