Distance makes the heart grow fonder―or so I hear from colleagues, family, friends, and those few people in my life that I can’t imagine life without. But under what circumstances is this true? I’ve recently been with a man who flip-flops his focus and emotions: sometimes it’s work, sometimes it’s his family, sometimes it’s people he feels he needs to help, but infrequently me. That is to say, rarely can he make time to see me or go on a date. In the first few months I was the centre of his desire and in the second number of months I’ve been demoted to the bottom of the list. The time we do spend together is electric: Gatsby-themed parties, a wedding on top of Blackcomb Mountain, and even the simple nights of couch-surfing. Who doesn’t enjoy a lazy night?
Over a week ago he left for Europe with some friends. Hopefully, to have the time of his life. For the seven months I have known him we have not missed a single day of texting each other, whether it is a conversation, a thought of the day, or a simple good morning. He hasn’t e-mailed me, nor have I e-mailed him. Where does this leave us?
I’ve been waiting for the day he stepped on that airplane to Europe, knowing that time apart would be a catalyst in the development, or fragmentation, of our relationship. Emotions are in no way simple. I was certain the change would happen in him. At some point in his trip, probably later than earlier, he’d have to think, “Hey, what’s going on with Marlow? I haven’t talked to her. That’s different.” Who’s to say this is a positive or negative difference, him being a man scared to acknowledge the positive things in front of him because he then has to acknowledge what he currently, in the moment, does not have. I can’t begin to know what is going through his mind, because, to my surprise, the catalyst occurred in me.
Many times in life it is much easier to look outwards than it is to look inwards. Entering a place and head space where I no longer focus on him, I’ve been forced to look at my life as an independent woman. That’s not to say a single woman. This week has been a whirlwind of remembering my dreams for my future career and regaining the steps to achieve those goals. Unfortunately, or possibly fortunately, each one of us can only take those steps on our own. Do I miss him? Yes, but every time I’m hit with that feeling after seeing a photo of his smile or the two of us standing next to each other, I tell myself, “No, I cannot miss him. I cannot think of him.” I say this knowing how loneliness can creep up on me and render me unmotivated in my endeavours.
This first awakening occurred on the fifth day. Until then, he never crossed my mind and I had began to think that out of the two of us, I would be the one to walk away despite his fear of commitment holding him down. While I was on the usual bus route down 64th Ave to school, I had a moment where I discovered I didn’t need him to love me; I only needed him. Suddenly I was flushed with a sense of freedom, like the weigh of our relationship had been lifted off my shoulders. How confusing this was to me? I’ve always been the girl who wants a committed relationship with a future in sight, but suddenly the only future I saw was my own in my career. Despite losing what I valued most, I was more happy than I had been in our relationship for months.
A catalyst doesn’t always occur in a single moment, but in a series of events. When I saw another picture of him pop up on my cell phone screen, I couldn’t help but think, “I love him.” These were the emotions I had been pulling back in the last month so as not to have my heart broken. Even still, throughout these brief minutes of desire for him and desire to be solitary, I have not been able to hit send on the e-mail server. How is one suppose to know if that’s the right thing to do with such a relationship? Does distance make the heart grow fonder? Time can only tell as I sort through contradicting emotions that come out of thin like breath escaping my lips in the final thaw of Spring. I cannot know what he is going through, whether he has similar questions, or whether he is the cliché of “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” Maybe I’m waiting for him to know where I stand like I’m gathering all my emotions to throw at him as if to put him in motion? However, I wish to come to my own conclusion separate from the man I thought would be in my life forever. I only know there is more to come.