She had bid farewell to England several years ago. With her planned departure from the motherland, she had fearlessly chosen to say goodbye to her immediate family in favor of spending the rest of her life with the man she loved. It hadn’t been an easy decision to make back then, especially given the close bond she shared with her tightly woven circle of family and friends, yet she had known there was no other way.
As she sat at the desk contemplating her situation one gray November afternoon, a solitary tear escaped from her sad, swollen eyes and dissipated on the ink stained paper, a letter to her parents across the ocean. The ache of absence magnified as the words of affection blurred behind the salty spot. No one told her how trying the distance would be she thought, no one mentioned the cruel longing with every birthday, anniversary or family get together.
She pulled a carefully folded sweater from the closet and drew it close to her tear stained face. She inhaled deeply, the familiar smell of home from her last visit to England beginning to fade. It had been almost five years since she’d waved goodbye at the airport, the conflicting moment etched on her memory for eternity. The anticipation of waking up next to her best friend every day had been overwhelmingly arresting, equally, the sorrow that had tugged aggressively at the corners of her excitement left her robbed of truly feeling anything. An unwelcome equilibrium she had tiptoed between every day since.
When the scale was tipped heavily in the direction of despair, troublesome thoughts linked with her inability to have a physical presence in the lives of her loved ones back home would cloud her capacity to think beyond the immediate grief of being lonely. The harsh realities of an absence with no end in sight were sometimes viciously debilitating, and it often took all of her strength and determination not to crawl beneath the soft blankets of her bed to seek comfort and solace in the only place she knew it existed when she felt so low; sleep.
She missed the fells, sporadically decorated according to the season with grazing cattle or sheep. She longed for bucolic sunsets and star strewn skies, for the peace and quiet of her parent’s household and the comfort of home cooked delights. Her mind would often wander to times gone by, recalling evenings filled with much merriment as her parents and siblings gathered around the dining table, feasting, rejoicing. There were so many things she ached for, yet nothing was quite as compelling as the desire to be surrounded by her family when the wistful effects of homesickness gripped her.
With each melancholic episode there was a sinking feeling of remorse as her husband looked on in helpless incredulity. She couldn’t predict where or when the agony of missing England would choke her current disposition, although she had learned to avoid many of the catalysts she had discovered since Virginia had become her place of permanent residence.
She folded the note and slipped it inside the neatly addressed envelope. With it she tried to bury the oppressive vacancy that was sure to sadden her partner on his return from a hard day at the office. Without warning, however, a quiet smile began to grace the scene as her mind wandered to the very reason she had left her family behind almost five years ago. She had chosen without hesitation to end the one distance her heart could no longer bear in favor of the many separations she battled now. And although she missed her homeland and her family more than ever, she knew she had made the right choice.
She stood forcefully, moving with a newfound purpose to sit by the window, where she patiently watched and waited; for tonight there was comfort in a place she had momentarily forgotten as the painful reality of the distance between today and her former life England had almost begun to consume her. He would hold her and all would be well, because home was now here with him.
As seen on the Cottage Hill Journal.