R is arriving on Friday, for eight days. I am full of excitement, cut with a little bit of apprehension.
When we started sleeping together again in May, four months after I'd moved out, there was no sense of what this would mean for us in the long term. Then we watched ourselves slip into a familiar togetherness. What I mareveled at, though, was that - for the most part - even though the togetherness felt familiar, there was something changed about it. A certain tension was gone.
Even more amazing was that R was willing to talk about what was going on between us - almost more willing than I, who didn't know how to make sense of it, and felt worried about that. (Worry...do we sense a theme in Hilaire's life?) Our old, tired pattern had involved R, playing a Brick Wall, and me in the role of Let's-Share. That has shifted in some fundamental way.
R is extraordinary in her willingness to change. Where she felt intransigent before - we both did. We spent a year and a half in counseling, and if I had to pinpoint THE issue between us, it was a kind of unwillingness to compromise. That is no longer the case - at least for her. She has undergone a certain quiet transformation. And I don't know if I can say the same. I don't know if many of us can say the same. It's quite something - she is willing to examine and quietly, selflessly work on almost every bit of herself. I hadn't seen that before - maybe she wasn't willing before. I see it now. I also see how much less willing I am to change, a fact of which I am not proud.
A couple of months ago, she delivered a line to me that floored me. We were out at some dark, noisy, alcohol-saturated event. Having a talk about us - shouting at each other over the music. She said that she had realized that she was willing to give up place - Home City - if it meant she wouldn't have to lose me. I didn't know at that point if I could say the same.
Now I am surer of my feelings. I thought that we needed to see what it was like to be apart, before we tried to make any kind of decision about the future. I wondered if I would push her away once we were so geographically distant. I've found it's not the case. I've found I feel closer to her, and I imagine a future for us. As much, I mean, as I can imagine under the circumstances - we're living thousands of miles apart, in a situation where we will go for months without seeing each other. But I am, I think, willing to explore what it would mean to be together again. Planning life together.
Anyway. Yes. She arrives on Friday morning. We're driving to another town on Saturday, for a couple of days - a place I'm really excited to visit. Will do some hiking and some wandering and some eating there. Then we'll be back here for the rest of her stay, and with a rental car for most of it - so we can explore the area. I'm curious to see what she thinks of this place. As much as it's been an adjustment for me, it will be much more of one for her. Gendered in the way that she is, and with her prickly personality, it could be a disaster in this conservative place. If it's a disaster - if she hates it - that will affect the way I think about my future here.
So it's potentially loaded, this visit. But mostly, I just can't wait to see her.