Friday, September 4, 2009

UPDATED: True lurve on campus (part 8)

With the wedding coming up quickly -- THREE WEEKS OHMIGAH OHMIGAH OHMIGAH -- I've been doing some thinking about everything that has happened in between the night B and I had our first date almost four years ago and today. All the things that have changed, and more importantly, the one thing that has stayed the same. You can catch up on parts 1 - 7 here.

Disclaimer: This part of the story is totally boring because there's no conflict, and what's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding? NOTHING, that's what. To spice things up for all of us and are you guys seriously still reading this, my friend Falko has volunteered to be my arch nemesis and go back in time and make things more interesting so that when I decide to write about my relationship with B to a bunch of stalkers strangers friends, there will be something interesting to say about this part. Aaand begin ...

B handed me an envelope. I lifted the flap and pulled out the card.

"Love, having no geography, knows no boundaries."
-- Truman Capote

Truman Capote. The author of the book we first studied in the class where we first became friends. The book that was turned into the movie we saw on our first date. The night that we saw Mars.

And that quote. To a girl who was about to get on a plane and move 9,000 miles away from the boy she loved, the boy who had become one of the most important parts of her life almost overnight, that quote was everything.

And the next morning I was gone.

After 24 hours of flying, I stepped off the plane and into the city of Auckland, where I'd be living for the next five months. Life in New Zealand was incredible. I made amazing friends. We lived in the center of an exciting, beautiful international city. We spent our weekends traveling to the beaches, forests, and mountains. We rented campers and spent two incredible weeks circling the South Island. We climbed glaciers, rode horses, jumped off bridges, and dove out of planes. We peed on the side of the road and drank beer and went dancing and laughed until we couldn't breathe.

Skype became my lifeline to B. A full 18 hours ahead of U.S. time, I'd call him when got home from the bars at night, and B was waking up to go to class. I missed him like mad, but we made it work. We trusted each other wholly, and not once did we ever have a disagreement. When you live 9,000 miles away from the person you love, things can either become incredibly simple or incredibly complicated. We didn't waste time thinking about it. We became expert communicators. I miss you. I love you.


For B's college graduation present, his parents gave him a roundtrip ticket to Auckland. I counted down the minutes until his plane landed.

The morning he was set to arrive I woke up at before dawn. I had ordered an airport shuttle the night before, and made my way down the dim hallways, past the life-sized chess pieces, through the grand front foyer where years before bustling travelers would line up to buy their train tickets out of Auckland, and into the crisp, dark city. The building where I lived had at one time been Auckland's main train station. It had since been purchased by Uni and converted into apartments that housed a few hundred of the University of Auckland's international students. The main foyer had largely been left untouched, preserving the look and feel of a historic train station, the perfect environment for those of us who couldn't dream of standing still.

My heart was pounding as the van quietly carried me out of the city. Sweeping steel building gave way to suburban houses and then we were on the highway. The black sky began to thaw to dark blue as the hope of dawn took hold.

I thanked my driver and hurried into the airport. I had plenty of time before B's plane was scheduled to arrive, so I paced. This would be the first time we'd seen each other in almost four months. At this point, we'd been apart for almost as long as we'd been together before I left.

But when I saw him walk through door from his gate and our eyes met, I felt the dam burst. He dropped his bag mid-stride as I leaped into his arms and he folded himself around me. And in the middle of the bustling Auckland International Airport, as hurried travelers stepped around us, B kissed me that way that could make my stomach flip.

But as suddenly as we had collapsed into each other's arms, a figure appeared. IT WAS A NINJA, YA'LL. In a single liquid movement, the ninja scooped me into his arms and flung me over his shoulder like a carcass. And then I was all "WTF, bro?" And he was all "let's spice this up, baby" and I was all "FALKO? Is that YOU?" And he was all "It is I. I have used my ninja skills because I feared my natural good looks and uncanny resemblance to Harrison Ford might not be enough to disarm you." And I was all "Put me down, dude" and he was all "NEVER. You know my life motto: jet skis and butt sex" and I was all "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO."

But just then, B jumped out from behind a magazine rack and pulled out these INSANE skills and before I knew what happened, Falko was in a headlock that not even a ninja could break and I was all "My Prince Charming" and B let go of Falko and scooped me up and by the time we turned around he had disappeared as quickly as he had come, but we could still hear his voice being all "I'll be baaaaaaack" and shit.

That is totally true.


For the next two weeks, B and I experienced New Zealand together. I took him to all of my favorite spots in Auckland. We took day trips out of the city to go hiking through the beautiful mountains overlooking breathtaking beaches. We rented a van and went camping. We went Zorbing, rafted down an underground river, explored caves, went mountain biking, and tried our hands at rock climbing. And we were always on the look out for ninjas. I was able to share the country I had fallen in love with with the man I adored.

B's time in New Zealand flew by and we were closer than ever. You learn a lot about a person and yourself after living with them in a van with no shower for six days. The morning B left to fly back to America, I rode the crowded bus back from the airport alone. When it reached my stop, I kept riding. This bus was comforting. I watched all the familiar Auckland streets pass by the window. I finally got off a few miles from my apartment, and walked home slowly. I missed B more in the days to follow than I ever had before, like a numbing ache in my chest. I felt every single one of those 9,000 miles.

But the semester was almost over. Everything was wrapping up at the University of Auckland. My friends and I squeezed every last thing we could into our remaining days. And a little more than a month later, on July 1, we were all on a plane back to America.


New Zealand had changed things between us, but not in the way we had once worried. Suddenly, I couldn't imagine my life without him. And I had a calm confidence told me I wouldn't ever have to.

B and I saw each other often that summer. Suddenly, the distance between Boston and Philadelphia felt like nothing. One night in August, as I was getting ready to go back to Baltimore for my senior year at Loyola, B called me.

"I have an idea, and I want to know what you think."

"Okay ..."

"I got offered a job ..."

"That's awesome! Congrats!"

"It's in Philadelphia ..."

"Wait, what?"

"And I was thinking that Philadelphia is a lot closer to Baltimore than Boston is ... and then after you graduated, I'd already be in Philly ... so ... What do you think?"

You could have just told me that from now on tampons would be free and that eating cupcakes was just proven to burn calories and I would not have been more excited. B was moving to Philadelphia ...

... To be continued.

1 comment:

Deidre said...

I cannot move for ninjas jumping me at airports. I mean seriously, ninjas, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Thank god B. is so skilled at ninja kung fu.


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