To this day, that simple question remains the only one able to make me blush. I sincerely didn’t know what to do with myself it seems for days afterward. It was a very weird feeling really, I was no longer single ,and at the same time, I didn’t have anything to prove it. Not that I needed it but it was literally like one day I was single and the next minute I was taken and while I needed no one’s approval it still would have been nice to show proof of the momentous change in my life. Love had finally entered my life.
So began a process that would last the next year and a half: A long distance relationship. In a traditional relationship both partners meet the parents at some point in the relationship. With me being in Puerto Rico and my now boyfriend ( weird that I was 30 years old and used high school terminology to describe the current status of my relationship but it was as good a term as any) being in New Jersey that process was a little different instead of an “in vivo” presentation Skype was our mediator. The strange process was compounded because of the language barrier. My boyfriend was white my family is Puerto Rican as a result although my parents spent a great majority of their lives in New York their ability to speak English was very limited.
The talk a father has with his daughter’s suitor was completed by my father and I in lieu of my father and my love interest. That experience was interesting to say the least it literally felt like I was in the most important job interview of my life and I wasn’t even the one applying for the job. My father fired questions left and right with me using what felt like cat-like reflexes to maneuver his questioning and he seeming to be trying to poke holes in the delicate fabric that was our budding relationship. Needless to say he aced the interview with flying colors.
As in any relationship we (both parts of the of the relationship) “sat down” for a serious talk. Each of us expressed our goals and expectations for this relationship. We set solid ground rules for each of us. We later realized that this exercise would prove extremely important for the length of this phase of our relationship. Another factor to this arrangement was trust we essentially needed to have blind faith in each other that neither person would do anything to put our relationship in danger.
Entering this process at a “mature” age was a great asset in all this because each of us knew what we wanted. We each were very aware that we had no time or desire to play childish games with each other’s emotion. There was an unwritten understanding that we would come together as adults to manage any “bump” in the road.
Skype, video calls, texts and phone calls were the back bone of our communication. We constantly stayed connected through these venues and a hard experience was made much more tolerable with these tools. Anniversaries, birthdays and other ritualistic observations were strange in that there were no hugs there were no kisses other than those play acted on the screen. Privacy meant waiting for my parents to retire for the night and me being holed up in my room as if I were in some type of secret society. As the days, weeks and months passed we laughed, we argued and we cried with each other. Each new pebble of the road of our journey making us and our love all the stronger.
Then came the illness that nearly took my life. The biggest hurdle we would overcome in our young relationship. One that nearly tore our relationship and our lives apart..