You know that hyper stimulating buzz that exists when you're teetering on the cusp of life-flipping realness but you're immobilized, stuck, waiting on time to pass?
I've been in the land of limbo for so long that this final week of solitude is crushing. My brain is checking out and into the world of easily digestible television. Peace and comfort are found in back to back episodes of early-90's Law and Order that somehow feel charmingly film noir-esque.
My fiance calls me and my brain swivels back to the here and now: We're still waiting. The impatience is burning. This is real life and I still have no control over time.
Once I'm reminded, I can't escape back into mindless fiction fast enough.
Sometimes our story sounds like fiction. My mother tells it to others like it's a fairy tale and I hear how she improves on it each time as I gently correct her.
"We started talking on a message board, mom, not a chat room."
Because these details are so precious.
I've kept archives of our personal messages sent back and forth from the summer we started talking. Thousands and thousands of words, photos, drawings, notes, even bits and bobs from our lives that we mailed to one another in tiny parcels.
I remember MSN messaging him before taking off to see the Stooges at Meadowbrook one night, before Ron Asheton had died; we had just upgraded to chat sessions after daily back-and-forth perivate messaging on the forum we frequented.
He asked me who I was going with and I told him it was a boy I had a simmering "thing" for. By his reaction it seemed he was obviously affected and I smiled to myself before logging off and slipping into a scoff.
AS IF I would ever actually meet this boy. AS IF he would truly want me. AS IF this thing I'm feeling is more than in my mind. It seemed too perfect to be tangible.
"My darling Haley,
As I speak to you, I lie in bed, soaked to the bone and exhausted, but oddly contented. I was pondering for about 3 seconds whether sending you a message was badgering you or clingy, but I think that's what is so befuddling new and amazing about... This. That I just want to speak to you. I don't really have any desire to vet or filter myself or... I dunno what people do... Plan or think out strategies about how much they communicate or seem "into" someone.
You know I'm head over heels for you and I ain't one to fuck about. If all I ever had to do was just listen to you and never speak...I'd be delighted." - Aug 2007
We never stopped talking, and shit got real - real fast.
The bittersweet realization that we loved one another came at the cost of committing to a relationship we knew would not be easy from the start.
Before we met in the flesh, I did my share of making out with boys I had no interest in. Whiskey goggles and loneliness would tempt me into fooling, but I always cut it short. My heart would never let me go further than that, and I always regretted it the next morning, especially when I told him.
I broke frequently. We both did to some extent, the mental and emotional stress was all-consuming - but we buoyed right side up again, every single time.
"I think we're just gonna have to keep having mini breakdowns before getting back on the horse. I wish I knew how to make it all better, but I'll try to stop thinking I can fix everything. It'll be okay, honeypie, it all will. There's just gonna be some hugely frustrating, lip-biting, heart-wrenching, crotch-punching moments along the way. But at least we're in it together and I can't think of anyone I'd rather go through it with and, eventually, meet on the other side." - Aug 2007
The state of our lives did not lend itself to allowing a massive life change at first, so we had to settle for loving from a distance until the time would come for us to unite permanently - a distant, ever-present dream.
I was working my way through art school at a marketing firm, he had graduated with a stable job that allowed him frequent trips to visit me. Within five years he had come to stay with me in Detroit more times than could be counted on both hands and I'd gone to the UK just a handful.
When you do the math, the time we spent apart in comparison to the time we spent together is profound. Each visit would last anywhere from a week to a month or more, aside from that one time he came to see me for a weekend simply because I'd been having a rough go of it.
Dude dropped everything to jet across the Atlantic, just to make me smile.
We quickly came to understand the art of saying "goodbye for now".
We learned how to function on our own while maintaining a relationship, how to communicate through every imaginable obstacle, how to keep ourselves going - because there was no alternative.
When we came together, we'd pick up as if no time had passed between the last time we'd touched. We'd fall right back into the comfortable patterns we had so naturally created, biding our time, making the most out of what we had - all the while wondering, "When the hell will we reach the end of this tunnel? When can we truly start our lives?"
After graduation I looked for jobs in London and even scored a few interviews. I made the trip over one fall and, walking hand-in-hand with him while exploring the misty streets between meeting up with friends, I'd say confidently: "We could live here. It could happen."
It wasn't long before we realized our fate was destined to begin in the States. Not only due to the close-knit groupings of family and friends we both hold so dear, but the relative ease of transition and cost of living that would come with his permanent move to Detroit made too much sense to ignore.
During one of his summer visits one afternoon, we smoked cigarettes on my front porch and contemplated marriage. The ring would come later, but we agreed then and there - this was our answer. It was happening.
We had an engagement party in the fall of 2012 and sent off the paperwork for his fiancé visa as soon as he got home, but it took a year before the official papers were in his hands and he was approved to book his final flight.
A one-way ticket, this time.
We've reached the final fucking week. Just today when we were discussing something to do with our finances, he said, "Oh I can do that while you're at work on Tuesday," - and I could barely contain myself to hear him say the words that confirmed his impending arrival was actually palpable and real.
This week is all we have left to endure the imbalance of not existing together. Even though I know it's all in my head, anxious thought processes are tiresome and I find myself consumed by the winding path and pitfalls of irrationality.
When everything aches from the wait, from the ruminating worry that everything might be yanked out from under us at the last second, I reread our notes and words that have existed from the beginning and am reminded: we have always been the true and constant pillars in one another's lives.
We're about to capture that light at the end of the tunnel that has been flitting so frustratingly close to our finger tips and snuff it out in favor of lighting a new torch.
Everything will make sense, so long as we continue to fare the turbulence with lives and fingers intertwined - just as we always have.