He was here just visiting, a city boy with brown slacks and black loafers; 1965. The son of a single mother in segregated Chicago. The racial tension as stifling and hot as the Chi-Town summers. Quick witted, smart, dashing, brazen with brown skin and green eyes. He found himself sitting at Oxford, surpassing the dominant ideologies expectations, fluent in French, master of everything. This warm hearted and gregarious city boy found himself spending his spring break in San Diego and what a great trip indeed. He stepped onto the sand with his shiny penny loafers and high socks, “this boy definitely isn’t from here”, she thought. Then he saw her, barefooted carrying poetry. They fell in love. I am their daughter.
I am a lucky girl. Not only because I have an incredible family but I am a product of something so rare in this world. I am the result of a true and lasting love. Our parents once were romantic, you know. They stayed out late, they missed curfew, just because the thought of parting their lips from their significant other seemed unfathomable. They were us, they loved passionately, stripped their clothes from hearts oozing from joy. This courageous exchange led them to marry one another. Time has muffled some of these passions, children of course too. Children, being selfish beings, are so focused on their own agenda; they are so preoccupied with their own lives, they fail to witness the love story in front of them.
I was lucky enough to find one such story etched onto countless pages at the very first McCurine Family yard sale (that earned a measly $100, which my brother got to keep). Hidden behind the boxes/tables of yard sale merchandise were three cardboard boxes. These boxes contained letters from my father to his “one and only” professing words of vulnerability and adoration. Words like, “for I will grow closer to you my darling, closer than your own skin.” They fell in love while he lived in England and she in California, through letters and the telephone. They wrote their future (literally), seeing their long distance romance as the opportunity to really get to know one another.
How spoiled have we become? With every medium of communication at our fingertips we have become disillusioned; we are so smug and impatient, demanding instant gratification from our heart’s conquests. “Wait two weeks for a letter to send?” No! “He took a whole 30 minutes to reply to my text message!” Unfathomable! “She lives all the way in Carlsbad and I in South Park, long distance won’t work.”
Why is it, when we have found a special someone so worthy of love, that isn’t one block away, we write it off as impossible? Love doesn’t know mileage. Shame on our generation for our lackluster approach to romance and courtship.
Forget the wives/husbands of soldiers waiting days, months, years for their loves to return to their needing embrace or my parents, that took the time to write a letter rather than a text. Not to say that romance with oceans in between is easy... but it’s doable and has been done (brilliantly might I add) for centuries. I stumbled across an incredible book, All There Is , a compilation of actual couples love stories, celebrating love found, love lost, and love rekindled. I was amazed to see that 75 percent of successful couples in this book, fell in love despite the distance between them (and yes, email was already invented in many of these stories.)
Relationships in any capacity require devotion, steadfast graciousness, and accountability... perhaps long distance romances require more. While this may be true, do not be discouraged when grand love come your way in a different zip code. You musn’t overlook love, especially a grand love, just because of the inconvenience of their residency. Cross that bridge (connecting your two cities) when you come to it. Pick up a pen and write each other, than writing your love off, at the start (and hey, there are always frequent flyer miles).