I'm feeling the distance between Rudy and I. It feels very, very wide, with no view of closing the gap. The three thousand plus mile gap. Once or twice, I have had a vision of me falling flat on my face. That my stoic attitude will get the best of me, and crumble, causing me to let go emotionally, and not be able to hold my head up high and deal with our distant situation. It's a fear of having no control over my feelings, which would then question the value of independence, and what being independent really means.
Both of us are fiercely independent, which allowed us to agree to this situation. Ironically, it's that independence that causes the disconnectedness I sometimes feel. On the one hand, the distance, the not seeing each other regularly, has solidified our relationship, more so than we even thought possible. As a couple, living together, we tended to take each other for granted, just assumed the other would always be there. Rudy did his thing. I did mine.
Yet, on the other hand, the distance puts a hold on daily physical interactions. And I don't just mean the necessary bond between a man and wife, I also mean the soft touch of our fingers grazing each other as I stand next to him, or the protective hug from behind Rudy affords me, just because. We are missing eye contact. That knowing glance between people who understand each other enough to know what their loved one might be feeling just by looking into their eyes. We are missing watching the kids together, just watching, and talking about how proud of them we are. We are missing leaning into each other as we whisper about life - a couple that really enjoys each others company. A couple truly in love.
Those kind of things Rudy and I have relinquished, for the time being.
I wonder, sometimes, if I truly have the stamina to live a solo life, as Rudy's wife. Or, if his solitude will get the best of him. Yet, I know that's what we both know we need to do, in order for everything to come full-circle.
Most of our daily conversations consist of early morning texts hello, i love you, i miss you, have a good day kind of thing. Some nights we talk on the phone. I tuck myself into my favorite couch in the corner of the garage, where it's quiet, so I can hear his every word, listen and respond, without any interruptions. Sometimes our talks are brief, other times we will linger for more than an hour, laughing about this or that, discussing these or those.
Rudy tells me he is fine during the week, filling his day with work. That it's the weekends that are hard for him. The weekends are when the loneliness sets in. Yet, he wills himself to stay busy, hoping for who would have guessed a speedy two days off. He says that being out in Arkansas by himself, without his family, dampers the idea of exploring his surrounding area, going for rides to unfamiliar destinations. That that is something he'd rather do with us by his side. So, instead, he cooks, he cleans, he irons, and he relaxes, beer in hand, sports on TV.
For me, well, I have the kids. Daily, I get to talk with them, face-to-face, ask how their day has been, and see either the excitement or frustration in their expressions. I get to sit with them, make eye contact, and enjoy the bond we share.
Rudy is missing that.
I question, every once in a while, how long our distant relationship will go on. Will it be another year, two, five, ten, or maybe forever? Neither of us knows for sure, not as of today, anyway. And yet, as odd as it may seem, we both know that this is what we are supposed to be doing. We know there is a reason for our distance. Our situation. And we both speculate that some day we will reflect back on these days, understanding.