On a whim, I asked Dennis via e-mail if my students could write him. Maybe it was a mistake to ask and a bigger mistake for him to consent, because today when I handed over his e-mail address to a student, she began telling me all the things she would write to him. And for this, Dennis, I apologize.
“Miss C, I’m going to tell him that he needs to marry you. How long have you been together? Two years? Well, it’s definitely getting late. He needs to marry you.”
Another girl told me that she would write and tell him that he had better hurry up since if he waits any longer the hot Brazilian men would steal me.
Meanwhile, even though I smiled and played along with their banter, I felt sad. I haven’t spoken to Dennis in over a week, so my heart hurts. Since he has been in New Zealand, which has been two full weeks, I have only spoken with him a handful of times…maybe four. And since he is hardly around a computer–off skiing or surfing or camping–it is rare that I hear from him through e-mail. I knew I would feel this way. When he was in Hawaii, over a month ago, I felt equally disturbed because of our disrupted routine. But now it’s worse. It is so expensive to place a phone call, even over Skype, that we can talk only a few minutes at a time. And he is nowhere as verbose as I, so his e-mail lacks the kind of description I embed into mine. Ah, my heart is just hollow and gross right now.
I thought this morning that I actually like school days better than weekends. During school, I am so busy…filling my hours with conversation and planning and writing. I am really thankful for the distraction my students provide, and surprisingly, thankful for the ridiculous on-going “planning to plan” commitee meetings because they keep me here. On the weekends, however, there is just so much time for thinking. And too much thinking, as we all know, is never very good for me. Is it wrong that I know exactly how many days there are until I see him? Am I being ridiculously pathetic? Absense is supposed to make the heart grow fonder, not sadder. Not anxious. Dear god…what is wrong with me?
I wrote to my sister, whose husband is a captain on a merchant vessel. He is gone six months out of the year in 3-month stints. I don’t know how she’s managed to do it, to keep her insecurities and fears and whatnot in check. My biggest fear is not that Dennis is out kissing his fair share of the New Zealand population; my biggest fear is that, in a way a 7th grader might express herself, he’ll find someone he likes better than me.
This weekend there is another long break. I am going away on Wednesday until Sunday to a beach in Maresias with another teacher. While I am excited to go to a beach again (and this time I will wear sunscreen) I am a little afraid of the unstructured time and the opportunities for thinking. I guess I’ll bring some good books, some good music, and have an awesome time sitting on the beach. Did I mention that here on the beaches they bring drinks and food right to you? So you barely have to move except to raise your hand to call someone over and ask for more? Did I mention that?
What in the world do I have to complain about? I am in Brazil. I am a whole bunch of days away from seeing the person I love most in the world (besides my mom) and so I need to get the hell over myself and enjoy the sun that has been out every single day for the past two weeks. I need to bask in the sun on the bright white sandy beach, go dive into that clear blue water, drink some nice cold beer, and read a good book. Speak in Portuguese (but first learn the damn language) and then keep moving through my days until I have to pack up my things, get on a plane, and end up on another continent finally, finally at home with Dennis.
I knew this would be hard; but I didn’t know I was the one who would be making it hard.