Standing on Kyle's doorstep, I willed the tears to remain stored inside and away from my burning cheeks. But as I looked at my first love, and said with an unconvincing and wavering voice "we won't cry" the tears as if on cue to disobey as one colossal force, spilled out of my eyelids and collapsed down my face heavy with grief. I wrapped my arms around Kyle as tight as they would squeeze wishing that if I held on tight enough, I wouldn't have to leave him and that we could stand on his doorstep forever in our loving embrace. As I reluctantly released my arms, I looked through my curtain of tears only to see my boyfriend's face also glistening with sadness. With my eyes closed, our hands found each others cheeks and we kissed what we hoped would not be the last. As I walked slowly to the car, I clenched my fists and muscles, contending the total melt down my body was had been threatening since the beginning of our goodbye. I slid into my car seat, buckled my seat belt, covered my head with my newly gifted college throw blanket and as my mom drove away, I cried. But it would not be accurate to solely use the verb cry to describe my reaction that day. As I hid under the Red Raider blanket, I felt my insides clinch and twist, causing pain and sorrow I had never known. For lack of a better phrase, my heart was breaking, and all I could do was to express the bitter affliction through heaves and sobs. I cried for the better half of the 7 hour trip to Lubbock.
Kyle and I began dating in December of my senior, his junior year at MacArthur High School. We had been friends for over a year, but when our relationship turned romantic we were attached from the hip from the start. Although we were securely attached, we were also both practical and knew that once I left for college, life and our relationship would be a struggle. Which is why we decided that the mature action to take was to break up before I left for school (5-7 hours away depending on who was driving). I conceded that I did not want the strain or confinement of a serious relationship my freshman year of college. I wanted to be able to date other guys and explore the proverbial fish in the sea. Kyle allowed it would be best for his senior year of high school to be a "single dude" without the pressure or burden of a long distance relationship. However, as the summer heat intensified and the days left together melted away so did our practicality and logical relationship decision. The evening I made up my mind to confess my true feelings, I called Kyle stating that I had something important to tell him. Kyle said that he would be right over, and he also had something he needed to discuss with me. I waited outside in the front yard on my mom's worn wooden bench, enjoying the breeze and the tranquility of the evening, all the while wringing my hands in anxiety at what Kyle's reaction would be. I was never one for wearing watches, but if I had, my wrist might have been sore from checking. After what seemed like an hour, Kyle showed up carrying a single flower. He greeted me with a kiss and sat down on the bench beside me. I looked deep into his eyes and said, "Kyle, I am in love with you and don't want to break up . I think what we have is really special and although a long distance relationship will be hard, I believe it will be worth it." Kyle smiled and said that that was exactly what he had wanted to talk to me about as well. That conversation was a turning point in our relationship, it was when we decided that our relationship was important, more important than the struggle and hardships that is created by long distance. We knew that the statistics were against us. We knew no successful couple in our situation and had absolutely no basis of a model, but we had love, trust and commitment and that would have to be enough.
I officially have a ticket to Korea and this Friday, I will leave Kyle for a second time to hold our teaching positions while Kyle continues his struggle to graduate. But rather than the separation of mere hours on the road, an ocean will seperate us. We are hopeful that this separation will last only a month, the time to process a visa, rather than the year away at college as before. Our time apart will be difficult, but I trust that God has a plan and maybe that plan is ultimately to make our relationship stronger through the hardship. I am taking a blanket on the plane, but I trust that my tears will obey this time and blubbering in front of a plane full of strangers will be avoided. My heart breaks a little bit more every time I think of leaving my soulmate, but our love and commitment is stronger than ever before, and I know that we will make it through the good times and the bad all the while holding hands.