4th September, 2016. 5.30am AEST.
I sleepily said good morning to you on Skype, my nerves slightly muted from drowsiness. My brain wouldn’t allow me to comprehend that my life would be changing drastically by the next day; I was too focused on the fear of travelling alone for 20+ hours for the first time. We had some small talk, but it was mostly unspoken emotions being exchanged. We were both terrified of the unknown.
Were we sure that our online compatibility could be translated in person? Would we feel comfortable together? Would we find enough to talk about? It was a never ending saga of worry at this point. We wished we could stay in the moment and look forward to what was coming, but anxiety doesn’t settle well with the unexpected.
The first flight from Sydney to Vancouver was long, lonely and terribly boring. There weren’t enough movies and I couldn’t take my mind off you. I couldn’t comprehend that after 3 years, we were finally going to be in the same space, in the same room, able to speak to each other without the use of technology. The second flight from Vancouver to Toronto was beautifully landscaped and filled with light. I felt my positivity lift as I watched the mountains pass beneath me. I couldn’t hold back my smile when I realised that in only 4 hours, I’d be in your arms.
Landing was surreal. Somehow I suddenly felt like I was coming home, knowing you were waiting for me in that building across the tarmac. I followed the crowds through the foreign airport and found the bathroom. My face was a damn mess and although I knew you wouldn’t care what I looked like, I knew I would.
I made it to the bag carousel, paranoid that you could somehow see me before I could see you – my worst nightmare at this point. I tried not to have too many expectations, but locking eyes at roughly the same time was the only important one. I called you once I had my bags and told you I wasn’t ready. We talked for a few minutes so we could somewhat calm our nerves and feel the familiarity of each others voices again.
Eventually, I forced myself out of my seat and towards the exit, knowing you were seconds away. You warned me there was a large group of excitable people welcoming their friends in and to try not to get caught up in it. I dreaded getting lost in the crowd and looking like an idiot – again, knowing you wouldn’t think that anyway.
Our First Physical Hello
We stayed on the phone as I came out of the exit. I turned to the right and locked eyes with you right away, hanging up as I did so. At that point I didn’t see anyone else but you. The sound of the crowds was instantly drowned out. We sped up towards each other, arms flung in the air and directly into an embrace. The embrace I’d been waiting for; solid and real. I felt your arms wrap around my waist as you nuzzled into my neck. I stood on my tip-toes to reach my arms around your head and my head over your shoulder. You were taller than I expected and I loved it. We inhaled together in silence as we took in the moment.
We broke apart for a few seconds, only to mutually feel weirded out by making eye contact for the first time and then pulled each other in for another deep embrace. Once we were ready to try again, we let go and examined the other for a few seconds. I scratched at your beard, reminiscing our very first conversation online together being about it. You told me I had a little head and we giggled. There were so many moments of sensory overload. Your hair was as I expected – bushy and wild, but a lighter shade of brown. Your eyes were the same dark wood as I knew for so long, but there was much more depth now.
Things people never told us about first meeting your LDR partner:
1. Making eye contact for the first time is very odd. It doesn’t feel natural, considering you’ve only ever been looking at a screen together.
2. For the first little while, your voices don’t sound familiar. Whether it be nerves or exhaustion, it won’t sound the same right away. It does fade and when it does, it’s heavenly to hear that voice you’ve known for so long.
Maybe it was less movie-like because we didn’t have many expectations. Or that we didn’t film it to be able to look back on with nostalgia. But for us, it felt like the perfect moment anyway. Getting lost in the airport soon after due to being distracted by each others goofy smiles was a testament to how little we were focused on our surroundings. You were all I saw and I all I wanted to see. Anything else felt like an insignificant moment among the array of moments we were going to have together.
Although I’m home now, I’ve never been more excited to get back on a crowded plane and greet you again without the worry of the unknown. I know I’m coming home to the deepest and most powerful relationship I’ve ever known.
Original post can be found at http://ldr-pocketcrusaders.tumblr.com/post/153381262534/our-first-physical-hello-4th-september-2016