Distance – a Flashie for Friday

Next up on the Haddon blog is an in interview with amazing author Clive Johnston. In the meantime, here is a flashie from me to keep your appetite whetted.

In the long run, it wasn’t a matter of how far, but how close. The space between them was a canvas they could fill with the watercolor of their feelings.  But it always remained a space.  Not physically, of course.  Further closeness of that kind was not possible without danger of damage to their fabric.

Apart, they craved togetherness:  the circadian rhythms of their lovemaking; the unpredictable bursts of hilarity; the joy of shared familiarity;  the sense of mutual discovery.

But still the space remained: indefinable and yet defining.  They chewed on it, mauled at it, left it alone. It was unmoved.

One day:

— Jim, I’ve been offered a promotion.

— That’s great.  Congratulations. Well deserved.

— I’ll have to move.

— Okay. Far away?

— California.

— What?  Jesus.  California.  Shit.  That’s far.  From Kirkintilloch.

— Want to come?

—  I’d love to, Emm.  But what would I do for a job? California?  In the US of A?  You sure it’s not the one near Falkirk?

But it wasn’t.  And she went,  because the job sounded great and the money was beyond avarice.

Separated by more than six thousand miles,  they e-mailed and Facebooked  and Skyped and phoned.  They made love in any number of imaginative ways without touching.  They shared thoughts, beliefs and passions every day. They talked about getting together.  Emma would fly home for a break; Jim would fly out for a holiday.  But work for both of them was a constant stinger, throwing itself in front of them and threatening to burst their tires.

Months passed.  Longing flowed and never ebbed. E-mails flowered into blooms of extraordinary magnificence,  surpassing imaginings.

Then, one cool, clear Sunday in early Spring,  Jim’s doorbell rang and Emma was standing there,  trailing a single suitcase,  her perfection only marred slightly by the crumpling effects of 6000 miles of air travel.

He tried to speak, but no noise came.

— Aren’t you going to invite me in?

They didn’t notice in that first moment of hugging and kissing and hugging again.  It was only in the days that followed that they realized what the distance had done for them.

The space was gone.


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