It’s been four months since break up one and the Train Driver has been getting in contact with me more than usual since his departure. He is sending me photos of the two of us on holiday, chatting for no reason, sending me images from his desert life – even posting personal jokes to my Facebook wall – what is he playing at? I’m confused, I’m guarded but I’m also enjoying it. I miss this guy more than I can explain.
I have just booked my O.E. I am crazy excited. Travel was the only contentious issue between us. While the Train Driver is career driven (understatement) I’m travel driven (understatement). I have broached the OE topic before, even pushed my luck and discussed moving to London – but it always came back to his career, the house he wants to buy, the business he wants to set up – so that we can be comfortable and set up at a young age. As soon as we broke up, my hurt heart was gently pushed by my burning desire – travel…travel…travel. So that’s what I did. I took my broken heart to the travel expo and booked a three-month trip around Europe. Has he heard? Is this what has inspired him to get in touch? No. He can’t have. He misses me. He loves me. As I do him. That’s why we’re in contact again. Obviously?
He mentions that he has heard I’m going travelling, that he is hurt he didn’t hear it from me but is happy for me as he knows so well how much I have always wanted to do this. The text conversations become daily, become flirty’er and cuter. He tells me he is coming back to New Zealand – coincidentally four days before I leave for Europe, that he’d love to catch up. “Of course” my blinded by love heart screams.
He arrives in New Zealand, I see him almost immediately. Everything’s as I remember it, we’re all coy – full of smiles, giggles and chemistry. We get along as we always have, nothing short of incredibly. It feels as though nothing has changed, it feels right. We go to say our goodbyes – he walks me to my car and gives me a long hug goodbye. He whispers in my ear how much he misses me, misses this, misses us. I go weak at the knees, I crumble, he gets in to the passenger seat, me the driver’s seat. We talk for over two hours, he pours his heart out – it’s always been me, it’s only ever going to be me and how he fears he has made the biggest mistake of his life choosing his career over the only girl he has ever loved. We kiss and make up – I explain how apprehensive I am to be his girlfriend again, that he hurt me so badly I’m terrified of ever feeling that way again. He explains that he never wants to lose me and this time I’m stuck with him – we’ll make long distance work somehow, his contract is only for a year and we’re already half way through.
I drive home to bed and fall asleep with a smile on my face. I wake up and wonder if it’s a dream and then realise that no, life is actually perfect – I’m back together with the man I love and I’m about to leave on a three-month adventure around Europe that I have always dreamt of. I have it all – the man and the OE. Talk about lucky!
The next four days are spent with him by my side, we’re cute, we’re happy and we’re in love. The goodbye is tearful, but we make plans and book flights so that I fly home via his Australian home for a week – potentially to even check it out and see if I could make the move. I mean I have no job and no flat now that I have given them up for the big OE. We keep in touch every day of my European adventure, I miss him like crazy, he misses me. Long distance is hard, but it’s worth it. He’s the man I love, the man I want to be with. I’ll do anything to make this work – as will he. We’ve both admitted it’s not ideal – but it’s what we’re both prepared to endure to ensure we’re together. Phone calls at odd times of the day and night, text messages about things you’d rather talk about in person or on the phone, photos to show what you’re doing – it’s all part and parcel of the long distance game. To be honest, it’s not that bad – I love him so I’d rather be with him at a distance than with anybody else nearby.
The constant texting starts to waiver, I’m walking down Bayswater Road in London and he tells me has been offered an opportunity that he can’t really turn down, meaning he’ll be in the land of the red dust longer than expected. I support him and agree it isn’t something he should be turning down. This is where the strain sets in….I realised that I am actually quite open to the idea of moving there. Like we’d discussed, I have no job, no flat and about to return down under from my travels. He seems ambivalent about the fact that I’m more open to moving than I’d previously disclosed, but I ignore it. I start looking at job websites, flats and talk myself in to the move and actually getting quite excited about it. A friend informs me about a job in my new city, sends me the job description which just so happens to match my CV – it’s the perfect piece of my new life’s puzzle. By the time I’ve travelled through The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Italy, I apply for the job from the internet cafe in my hostel in Nice, France and text the Train Driver to tell him – I’m so excited! He’ll be so happy for me, so happy for us! Fancy that, he has an amazing job opportunity over the ditch and so do I – finally, our paths are aligning! #meanttobe
I receive a reply to my text. “I’m sorry, I just can’t do this, it’s too real and I’m not sure what I want”.
I am lying on the top bunk of a 10 man dorm room in the South of France and I have just received a text message from the love of my life, breaking my already splintered heart. I can’t cry, I can’t scream, I can’t even talk to my travel buddy (we’ll call her America). I forward the message to America – and she instantly replies severely shocked and confused – I tell her I’m fine and that we need sleep so not to worry. The morning rolls around and I’ve had less than an acceptable amount of sleep but we’re up and atom – we’re boarding the bus to Avignon. America just rubs my arm, doesn’t say much and doesn’t expect anything more in return. While waiting for the bus she disappears and returns with a bag of peanut m&ms, a tub of pringles and a bottle of fanta – she knows me too well. I don’t speak for the first three hours of the five and a half hour bus ride but at the three-hour mark, I look at her, she looks back at me with concerned but loving eyes, I whisper “I want to go to home to new zealand, I can’t do this” and proceed to break down.
After struggling with a long distance relationship, making the conscious and public decision to move for him, for us, for love – everything has come crashing down, all over again. I spend the next part of the journey stuffing my face with America’s treats and crying my eyes out. We arrive in to Avignon and go for dinner – accompanied by a rather large glass of wine. America sits in the silence that I’m not helping to break, just being there for me. I’m too ashamed to let anyone back home know about the bomb that the Train Driver has just dropped. Not even my sister or my best friend. America knows how close my sister and I are and unbeknownst to me is in constant contact with her – taking the awful band-aid pulling part right out of my hands. Does anything really beat a sister and the best girlfriends? The next two days are a blur – a blur of hurt, denial and alcohol. Both nights I fall asleep crying with America cuddling me.
No word from the Train Driver, no I’m sorry, no I made a mistake, no I want you back. I’m on the other side of the world, without my friends or my family and I am beyond distraught. America becomes everything to me: my travel buddy, my mum, my sister, my best friend – I will forever be in her debt. Heartbreak doesn’t even begin to describe how I am feeling.
distanced hearts club ♥