postcard from the north.

“Postcard from Rome” by Corey Kilgannon

She’s in a window seat sitting alone
Her suitcase is spilling out untaken photos
Of European architecture, an apartment on the coast
She’s on an airplane heading to Rome
She’s on an airplane sitting alone

So baby be safe, baby be smart
The world’s not so pretty a place after dark
Honey I’d hold you so tight in my arms
But you’re oceans away, and I’m home working hard
So baby be safe, baby be smart

Take pictures of people and pictures of trees
Try every corner coffee shop on every busy street
Be the modern Napoleon take all of Italy
But every so often think a little of me
I’m probably wide awake worried bout you out on the street

So baby go free, and baby have fun
The world is a beautiful place when you’re young
I’ll be here waiting when your wandering’s done
If you promise me that we’ll still be in love
Baby go free, baby have fun

She’s in a window seat sitting alone
Her heart is heavy; her suitcase is full
Of different culture and brand new friends
A postcard from Rome
She’s on an airplane heading back home
She’s on an airplane crying alone

So baby I’m sorry, baby I’m sure
The world was a wonderful place where you were
You wish you’d stayed longer the trip was a blur
When you’re homesick for elsewhere let me be the cure
I need you my love, I need you my friend
So you’re taking me with you when you leave here again

I go away a lot.

I’m realizing, now that it seems to really have happened, that the early days of my love story are a highly improbable thing. An old poem from Sweden days explains it:

floating in limbo

we met
we fell in love
which can take
anywhere from three seconds to three years.
had it been three years
before I left
we probably would be fine
had it been three seconds
we never
would have seen each other again
as it was
I had three months left
but I fell in love with you
in three weeks
and the remaining nine
are a sweet
torturous memory
I would not wish on anyone.

I met Sam in February 2015, only hours after I submitted my study abroad paperwork. We had been dating a month when I met his family, watched him graduate college, and drove home to my parents’ house all in the same day. A few weeks later, I left to work at Danish, then Swedish, then I was home for ten days…then I moved across the world.

In the time we’ve been dating, Sam has celebrated three birthdays. I’ve gotten to spend only one with him.

I did come back from that Across-the-World place where I lived, but it was easy for neither of us. I know he worried about me – I was gone just as the refugee crisis began to ramp up across Europe. I made new friends and stayed out late. And I tried to learn to love this man whose face I sometimes couldn’t remember, but whom I simply could not forget.

I need you my love, I need you my friend

Many times we had to promise each other we’d still be in love when I came back.

Lo and behold, we were.

The last year or so of my life has dumped a lot of shit on me, and I have to somehow get up the werewithal to graduate college soon. But I shudder to imagine what turmoil would have rocked my soul had I been alone when I came home from my mentor’s house that day in January, or called my mom on Mother’s Day to hear that her mother had died.

Sam and I have a weird, improbable beginning that I think means our relationship will always have an unconventional path to follow. Which I kind of revel in. A love despite all odds, even at the beginning.

We’re facing a few new choices in our respective lives that might mean we have to be apart again for awhile. Apart. Again. Awhile. Wow. Linguistic weirdness. Anyway.

I do not fear this.

It’s not quite as simple as we did it before, we can do it again. “Doing it before” was not easy, as stated. But the thing is, when I got on that plane in August 2015, knowing only a tenth of what I know about him now, I had to trust him to wait for my postcards, to read them, to love them, to send them back. (Actually he sent the first letter, but eh.) “The best way to know if you can trust someone is to trust them,” I like to paraphrase Hemingway. And not just because there is no other way to know, but also because by trusting someone, you have inherently made them trustworthy. To say nothing of the fact that you cannot go around your whole life never trusting anyone.

And he did – he wrote back. He said over and over I’ll be here waiting when your wandering’s done. I had to go, I told him. I know, he said. He always knows better than I how to say what I mean.

Someday I’ll stop sending him postcards from faraway northern regions of various countries all the time.

A quick story to close this that I haven’t told anywhere else yet.

When my mom called me to tell me that her mother had died, Sam was with me. It was after church, we were just chilling at my apartment, and I had no idea what the news would be. But I told him, “My mom’s gonna be calling, and she’s with my dying grandmother, so I’m probably gonna cry some.”

When she actually rang up, he was in the bathroom, so by the time the initial news had been shared and the initial tears had come, he hadn’t gotten the memo. So a few minutes into our call, he came out of the bathroom. And I looked at him. And he looked at me. And he said, “You’re out of toilet paper.”

Love is dumb, and that’s what makes it love. – Galavant


One thought on “postcard from the north.

  1. Pingback: 2017 in music. | Along the Milky Way

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