Distance. Funny how it always tends to keep people apart. But that wasn’t always our case. This 8 year journey started right down the street… when she moved into my neighborhood as a young teenager.
Come to think of it, that one block proved to be too distant. She said her parents disapproved of my age (I’m 3 years older), but we both knew my ethnicity played a major role in why I couldn’t visit her residence…much less date her. We agreed to meet halfway on a corner lot to talk. And that’s where our friendship really blossomed.
It became our regular meeting place. Even when we moved away for college; and further, still, to start our careers. Throughout the years, we’d return to our lot. Our haven.
Tears. Laughter. Advice. Stories. A few quick kisses when heart strings tugged harder than self-control. We turned that place into our own hiding spot. In plain sight. Many times the words were left unspoken. The comfortable silence and sideways glances would say it all.
Now young adults free from parental scorn, it was the negative pairing of “distance” and “relationship” which handcuffed us with doubt. Amor de lejos es amor de pendejos. That’s what I was told.
Long distance relationships just don’t work.
And, yet, we continued to toe the line. Always aware of the “why”; always short of the “how”. We’d spend the following years in failed relationships, find solace in each other’s phone call, and continue on.
Then one day, she’d had enough. Enough mistreatment. Enough mistakes. Enough pretending friendship was where our buck stopped. She made the 450 mile leap of faith and with one kiss, sealed the deal.
A few years later, we returned to our spot for old times’ sake.
I dropped to one knee.
She cried and nodded her head.
And as I stood up, the distance forever faded away.