Nineteen days ago I flew halfway across the planet to see the man who makes life make sense for me. The poor man sitting next to me on the long flight from Sydney to Dallas had to endure my unceasing flatulence, and did so with good grace. During that flight I noticed he was reading Jane Eyre, and not just reading it either. He was making little notes in the margins. I was intrigued, but stopped short of striking up a conversation. I felt it would be hard to have a serious conversation about classic literature with a person who had already endured my unsuccessful attempts to conceal ten dozen or so farts.
Anyway, twenty-six hours later, after travelling on three planes and getting searched at every bloody security check point, we arrived in a cold and icy Milwaukee. I was travelling with my son (a quirky, good-natured, fifteen year old) who was keen to explore somewhere new, maybe see some snow and eat burgers. This wasn’t going to be any typical tourist bullcrap though. We were going to be part of something very, very real. We were greeted at the airport by my burly, bearded man, clad all in black, marching purposely towards us, holding aloft two down jackets. I think my initial greeting was, ‘Coats!‘, which may not go down in history as the most romantic of hellos, but our southern hemispheric acclimated bodies were freaking out about the thirty degree drop in temperature.
After a rib crunching bear hug, I finally managed to unclench the invisible fist that had been squeezing my heart for the last eight months. The constant dread of never seeing him again, no matter how hard I planned or worked things out, had been eating me alive for so long, that when finally face to face, I didn’t know what to do except shout, ‘Coats!’, and tell him about how much I’d farted on the plane. He told me he was proud of me. (If there actually is a test for true love it might just be this). He then took us straight to Taco Bell and managed to intimidate the man at the drive thru into giving us thirty packets of hot sauce.
Three days later I married him. Then we had just two weeks to be together before saying goodbye again, until the next time. Then it was hello again to the that familiar grip upon my heart, and the hollowness in my stomach. Next time, hopefully, there will be no more goodbyes for quite some time. Next time we see each other, we can ignore the ticking clock, and the counting down of days that seem to melt away like snowflakes in your hand. This is what I have to hold onto now.
I know on the surface we might not seem like the most romantic of people. He kind of looks like a retired wrestler and I kind of look like a middle-aged woman wearing her son’s t-shirts, but I think if people only knew how we felt, and how determined we are to make this work, then they might feel differently. Our story might even give those old romantic novels a run for their money.