Longtime followers of the blog will know that spent a year in a very long-distance relationship. Even though I live closer to her now, we still live a little over an hour apart, so…it’s still some distance.
I slip my arms around her. I kiss her cheek through her long hair that she keeps long because I mentioned that I like it when girls have long hair. I might have said something like “Pixie cuts are triflin'” whenever Anne Hathaway got a pixie cut for Les Miserables or whenever Jennifer Lawrence got a pixie cut for whatever she got a pixie cut for. I stand by that.
But what I really mean is that I like her hair just like this because this is the hair she had when I first saw her–when I fell in love almost exactly two years ago.
When I was a kid, my dad got a job at a paper mill in Georgia. That’s how I ended up there. My first memory is of falling in a fire ant bed behind our trailer in Alabama. I was super young–like two years old or something. We moved to Georgia a little later and left the rest of the family–grand parents, aunts, uncles, cousins–in Alabama. For a while, we would visit my grandparents once a month.
When I started preschool, these visits happened exclusively on weekends. We would leave after school on Friday. We would drive through the night. I remember Birmingham in the orange glow of a long row of streetlights. “You were born over there,” my parents would say as we drove by an old hospital with a neon blue star on its sign. That hospital is closed now.
I pull my head back from her cheek. Her long hair is trapped in my beard. My hand rakes it away. We laugh. This happens every time. I look into her eyes. It always feels exactly the same–like someone has squeezed my gut and shot electricity through my heart. It never gets old and it never fades–not even a little bit. Her eyes are like batteries.
I’m in her door with my hand on her waist. Our puppy, Buffy, is starting to whine and wriggle in her arms. She knows what happens next.
I remember very little about the visits to Alabama that happened when I was in preschool and kindergarten. What I do remember is Sunday. I remember passing by this big two-story house on our way out of town and back home to Georgia. It was blue. I remember it because every time we drove by this house, I was crying. I was crying because I had spent about 52 hours with my grandparents, they had done all of the wonderful things that grandparents do, and I was leaving–not to see them again for at least three weeks.
That was Sunday. Every time.
And so is this. The first time I said goodbye to her, it was a Sunday in Greenville, SC. That Sunday, I thought I may never get to say goodbye to her again. I thought it would be the last time I saw her. I got lucky, though.
Then there was the year we spent driving six hours to see each other. Those Sundays were rough.
And you think the Sundays get easier, but they never do.
I’ve come to realize that Sundays are for goodbye. They always have been. It hurts every time.
Even after two years, it still hurts to leave her on Sundays.