Home became a person, not a place.
That terrified me. Then I got used to it, a bit.
Then I flew back home again.
Home to the boy, home to my house. Home to a whole new set of problems.
Like the fact that neither of my parents recognizes that a boy who’s not the same religion as me can be a boyfriend and not just a boy friend. Like my dad telling me that the local religious community group was starting a new group for local law students, and maybe I should go check it out and meet some boys. Like my mom telling me stupid sayings about buying cows and milk about once a week. Like having my parents tell me I shouldn’t do [insert slightly intimate action here such as being picked up from the airport] with the boy because it might give him the wrong ideas. (Such as…me actually wanting to be in an exclusive long-term relationship with him? Wait a minute…)
(Although, to be fair, I finally got mad at my mom because I was putting up with being snarked at at home long enough thankyouverymuch. She said something about being supportive. I said she wasn’t being supportive. We came to a truce. I think, though I’m not positive yet, that my mom talked to my dad and he’s partially included in the truce as well. But I’m not going to count on it just yet.)
In the midst of all of this we had Holiday Season and I received an email about an awesome but really far away graduate school program and decided to apply. On top of already intending to go work on another boat for at least this coming spring.
I freaked out.
Maybe it’s not going to work out. Maybe I’ll stress the relationship so much by making it long distance that it’ll just fall apart. Maybe he doesn’t like me as much as I like him. Maybe me being an interfaith relationship won’t work out after all. How are we going to raise our kids? Why am I thinking about kids, I don’t even want to think about getting married! Is it going to be a deal breaker? What will be my deal breaker? WHY AM I THINKING ABOUT KIDS ALREADY?
Because on top of it all, I was imagining wedding scenarios. I was unable to stop thinking about him for more than three seconds at a time. I was missing him constantly. I was calling it infatuation, according to the definition learned in my sociology class sophomore year, the part of love where in the first year you’re happily-ever-aftering with the other person. The feeling you’re supposed to have in high school when you like a boy and you can’t stop doodling his name all over your papers with little hearts around them. The feeling I can’t remember having for any other boy.
What a catastrophic mix that was. It exploded in a halfway random emotional breakdown one evening that left me feeling raw even after the boy responded perfectly. I had to go home that evening, despite wanting to stay and cuddle and process what the HELL my brain had just done, so that wasn’t the end. Instead I called one of my favorite people ever and cried at her over the phone. At something like midnight. On a workday. The next day, feeling a little better but still smudged around the edges, I texted the boy and told him we needed to talk and he would have to give me hugs while we did so. Unexpectedly, he called me a short time later and asked what the matter was. I cried, because that’s what my brain and heart had been conspiring to make me do for the previous day and a half, but I told him a bit of it and felt better. Later that evening I got my hugs and told him the rest. I felt a lot better.
Except that I hadn’t really said everything, just the bits that were immediately resolvable. I left the concerns about religion to fester in the back of my mind. But out of all the things I didn’t want to talk about, that was at the top of my list.
It’s not like it hadn’t been mentioned before. We had even skirted around the discussion while I was across the country — but it’s not the type of thing you want to talk about on Skype anyway. There was an unspoken agreement to come back to it at some point. Like, the point after we decided that this thing would work past a long-distance relationship and turn into something longer and not as difficult.
But difficult is subjective, both to people and to situations.