9904 Miles.

Or 15,939 km. Either way, it’s quite a distance. Any farther away and you start getting closer. I sometimes sit and imagine all the things that are in between us. Every farm, every giant plastic replica dinosaur; every meat rendering plant.

Night for me, is day for him. We can’t wish on the same bright star because we don’t even see them at the same time. We often get confused about what day of the week it is when we talk. I live in the future, while he lags a day behind. One of us is always tired; having just awoken bleary eyed, or knackered out after a long day at work. We talk when we’d rather just be quiet and close, because talking is all we have, until we can eradicate those 9904 miles.

Now, as  I bask in the delicious beginnings of Spring, he is feeling the first chill of Autumn. He has to shovel for freedom from deluges of snow in winter, whilst I block windows with cardboard against a blazing, unforgiving sun. Seeing each other in real life takes time and a horrifying amount of money. Saying goodbye feels like having a body part amputated. Crying at airports and on aeroplanes has now become embarrassingly unavoidable. Sappy pop songs make us sad. Short of either of us habitually turning into a hawk or a wolf, I can’t think how much less convenient this relationship could actually be. Yet it survives and grows stronger with each passing day. Our plans becoming concrete, our future forming in front of us, tantalisingly out of reach for the moment. It’s enough to drive a person more than just a little wacky.

So, if you should find yourself falling in love with a mysterious stranger from a different shore, here are the top 10 things that you need to survive.

10. The internet. Electricity. A device with a camera and a microphone. An app that lets you talk for FREE. (I know that’s a lot of things to have as one entry, but if you want a proper list, go to BuzzFeed or some other click bait shyster site.)

I know letters are romantic, but no-one is going to wait a week to hear what you ate for dinner last Thursday. Phone calls are another option, but they cost MONEY. Talking everyday and knowing you aren’t going to have to sell a kidney to pay your phone bill make long distance relationships MUCH easier. Plus video is helpful.

9. Always resolve an argument. (No sulking.)

I’m not saying you can’t get a bit feisty now and again, but don’t let it linger. Emotional manipulation sucks at the best of times, but being on opposing sides of the planet just amplifies the effects. If you want the person you love to get through the day or night, without feeling like their soul is leaking out of a hole in their abdomen, just try and leave each conversation on a good and loving note. (Even if they did laugh at your inability to pronounce their state name.)

8. Make time.

I know, times differences suck. You have to go to work and do normal life stuff, but you have to put the hours into your relationship. Someone might have to get up early, or stay up late. Make sure it’s fair, and make that time worth something.

7. Make a note of daylight savings time changes.

No-one likes hanging around waiting for that annoying Skype ring tone. Daylight savings happens at different times for different time zones, and it selfishly messes up your set routine completely. If you forget to tell your partner, then you could have some poor bugger waking up at 6.30am for no reason. Which is annoying.

6. Selfies. (See above)

You might think they are a bit silly. The obsession of insecure teens? Something vain people do at the gym? Well, yes they are, but you’re going to have to bite the bullet here. Sending a selfie to someone who loves you, and misses you, can make such a difference to a shit storm of a day. Sometimes we need to see that face, just to remember why we are working so hard.

5. Have a plan.

Even if it’s only this side of impossible. Have something you can work towards. The next time you’ll be together, or the last time you ever have to say goodbye. That shared goal is your future. You’re not pissing around here.

4. Share everyday.

Talk about your different lives. Listen and talk. Make plans. Involve your families. Make videos. Take pictures of your life. Send cookies. Be intimate. You don’t have to be separate in any other respect, other than physical.

3. Be real.

Let them see the real you. It’s so easy to edit and self censor. To only show what you want them to see. But this person LOVES you, right? They want everything. Give it to them. NO filters. They give zero fucks about your double chin, or that zit. They want you.

2. Take it seriously.

Other people can be less than helpful here. You might have people who think this is something you are doing whilst you look for someone ‘real’. You might have people tell you it’s doomed to failure because they know someone who tried it and failed. They may make you feel like you are being foolish. Fuck them. They know shit about you.

1. Be unafraid.

It might seem impossible. Completely insurmountable. So many hoops to jump through. Flaming hoops held by serial killers and creepy clowns. Some days it will just dawn on you how difficult, long and drawn out your journey is going to be. Don’t buckle under the fear. Just remind yourself that nothing good ever came easy, and you have the heart and the courage to make it.

I believe in you guys.

















About oddboggle

Here are the letters I write to Sarah, aka Sarge, who will be sadly missed but never forgotten.
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