Wow that holiday went by faster than a Toronto Maple Leafs’ hockey player hitting the puck across the ice. (I don’t know the Montreal team’s name)
You can’t imagine how nervous I am on the flight over. Not that I have developed a fear of flying, although it is my first flight in six months, just a deepened fear of passport control. I keep telling myself I’ve taken every precaution, made enough re-assuring calls to the Canadian Embassy (unlike the US one, on a normal rate phone number) and done my research. And then some. I even put my cross back around my neck for the first time since coming back on that heartbreaking journey from New York.
I smartly walk into immigrations hall with my head held high, replicating an air of confidence and trying to look guilt-free – even though I have done nothing wrong. I estimate a nervous 30 minute wait in the quietest airport I have ever visited but happily find myself at the front of the line within a few short minutes, not enough time for me to get into a real state. A friendly officer politely gives me a choice of desks to head towards and I choose desk five. I figure if one bald man likes me, this one may too. He did.
I was invited up with a smile and waved through with a ‘have a good stay’.
I’m in Canada!
I almost want to punch the air and I’m tempted to walk straight out without collecting my luggage just in case they change their mind but instead I casually walk towards the carousel.
It’s only when I’m on the already waiting bus that I text the three people who may have been nervous too. I was glad to find that my shuttle bus took me to another bus that drove me straight to my hotel. The journey has been faultless.
Having exchanged messages, the BF was meant to text me an ETA the next day. By 11.45 I am literally worried sick and the usual scenarios are going through my head as I can’t get through on his phone. I’m physically ill for the next few hours but when I cannot be ill no more, I make myself go out and wander around the shops in fresh air. Today is meant to be to acclimatise and research places for us to go and eat and chill. I don’t notice much except the lack of beeping coming from my phone.
At the time I hoped he was arriving, I walk to the bus station having already rehearsed the journey this morning and find that the NY bus is invariably late. I decide it’s better to mope at the bus station than anywhere else but as I sit motionless at Gate One, I’m unable to eat, drink, read or converse with the others waiting.
Around 45 minutes later the bus arrives. He comes out and waves through the window. I’ve never been so pleased to see him but I’m also inwardly upset at his explanation; his signal disappeared soon after he left New York but I don’t understand why he couldn’t borrow a phone and at least call the hotel with a message, even if he didn’t recall my number.
Still, I’m so happy and after we grab a taxi, whereupon two were fighting over our fare for some reason, we unload at the hotel and walk to the bar around the corner that I had spotted last night, when peering through the window to see that United were 1-0 up.
I’m disappointed that I haven’t changed into my planned glamorous ‘waiting for my boyfriend’s bus’ outfit complete with long, shocking pink, leather gloves but the relief over-rode that.
My sickness could have come from the breakfast this morning which included uncharacteristically a very rich pumpkin latte that was advertised on the plane, when I wondered 10 minutes the wrong way on St Catherine’s Street into ‘gayville’ after rehearsing the walk to the bus station. Or it could have been the dodgy pastry I had at different coffee shop late last night. All of this food is wasted anyhow and now is the first time I have felt like eating all day.
More than likely it is the worry as now we’re both happily tucking into sizzling fajitas whilst the BF catches up on the start of the basketball season and the ‘world’ series featuring Yankees v Phillies.
Next day, I have a lovely birthday although both the holiday and spending it with BF are much more poignant than the big day. The only real birthday tradition we uphold is the gorgeous Italian meal in the old town although I did start the day with Eggs Benedict in a restaurant close by, same as my breakfast in San Francisco two years ago and I’ve been pining for it ever since.
The evening is planned to be spent watching the ‘world’ series but I promptly fall asleep for much of it.
Any similarities since our last time spent together end here. I don’t want to harbour on the bad stuff but there is a definite a shift in mood. The honeymoon may be over but the ‘real’ relationship has started. It may have been just the pressure of so few days together but we did have a few ‘words’, quiet, but definitely words. It appears the BF was holding back on some irritations so as hurtful it was too hear, it’s good that we have it in the open but it would have been nicer if he sugar coated in his usual style. He wasn’t his 100% supportive, caring self, maybe 90%.
Each barrage of criticism felt like I’d been caught in the line of machine gun fire but that’s because I’ve had ten months of him being so gentle and caring. And he still is but on these days, what happened to being sweet and attentive? What happened to women are always right and we men have to just work around that? (Jokingly said but a half truth if you want a happy relationship!). What happened to the beautifully crafted Valentines Day surprise versus nothing for my birthday, a more important celebration?
Each mini battle results in a lovely, if emotional heart-to-heart and we work though everything just like grown ups do. It’s been a rollercoaster few days but I’m quite proud of us.
And each day is lovely except for these short moments which seem spoil the tail end.
I figure the things he said wouldn’t be hurtful if I didn’t care for him but to have a falling out on the last day when I’m taking him back to the bus depot is truly shattering as we have no make-up time left. We do squeeze it in the last five minutes and many expensive texts ensue from me to him ending with a phone call when he’s back in the city on Sunday night.
But by now I’m hopelessly desolate in my despair as I have 28 hours on my own whilst he is only a few hours away, wondering how we got to this and feeling like I’d wasted precious moments not being completely with him. One thing I’m certain of is he definitely does not want me to be upset but he is and should be, honest and open.
The packing is awful but going back to an empty hotel room where we had been together is mightily upsetting.
I feel better in the next morning’s sunny daylight and go out shopping and try hard not to reach the desolation again. Finally I discover a nice new part of town and have a lovely coffee after shopping. My last day and there’s still no sign of cheesecake or cupcakes which I find unbelievable.
All day, I keep the texting going to ease the isolation and keep the communication open.
I call him from the airport after I have been bumped off the over-booked Air Canada flight. It’s expensive but it’s worth it as we clear the air with our apologies and I now feel good enough to chat to all the others that have been bumped off, all awaiting our fate.
Most of the rest are awaiting the Air France to Paris so I chat to an ex-pat Canadian-Indian returning to her family in France and also hear the first British accent in Canada. I get on the flight, text the BF and fall asleep after my lovely meal. All is good.