“When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”
This quote, while attributed to Albert Einstein, seems to not have come directly from him. Rather, it was a reporter who interviewed him who noted it in a story about relativity in the New York Times in March, 1929. Whoever it came from, it is a very good way to explain how everything is indeed relative. I could not help but think of it as I drove home from Pearson International Airport this afternoon. If you have ever been in a long distance relationship in which your partner visits you for too-short periods, you will understand.
In the last week I have driven to and from the airport twice. I took the exact same route to and from each time, and each time felt extremely different. It was not because Tuesday last was a clear day and I picked her up at midnight, and today was a blustery snowy day and I dropped her up shortly after noon. While weather can change one’s perspective, it had nothing to do with that.
Anticipation – Elation – Dread – Sadness
Arrival (pre pickup): Anticipation (55km)
Tuesday evening I drove there to pick her up. On the drive there I was brimming with anticipation. It was exciting (as it always is) to know that your love is arriving.
Arrival (post pickup): Elation (51km)
As she stood waiting by the kerb I was elated to see her again. I got out of the car and gave her a big hug and a kiss. It was bliss to have her back in my arms again, and it was only the -7°C (20°F) temperatures that brought our embrace to a relatively quick end so we could retreat into the warmth of the car. The entire drive home was exactly that – elation. It was wonderful to see her again, and to be able to hold her hand. We speak every night, and with the wonders of modern technology we can even do so face to face… but it is not the same.
Departure (pre drop-off): Dread (55km)
We decided to go out for brunch together. Knowing the timing and the uncooperative weather, we packed her kit into the trunk knowing that we might want to leave for the airport directly from the restaurant. We had a lovely meal, but as we drove away from the restaurant we were full of dread, knowing that shortly we would be parting ways.
Departure (post drop-off): Sadness (51km)
We sat in the car at the kerb for several minutes, not wanting to part. More tears were shed. Yes, we will talk again when she has cleared the Security and Customs checkpoints, but we will not hold each others hands again for… how long? We don’t know, and that is the saddest part.
I am not the first man to drop his beloved off at an airport and feel emptiness and sadness on the drive home. That is of little consolation to the man sitting at the keyboard typing because it keeps him busy and keeps him from diving deeper into the sadness. Writing can be a way to turn emotions into productivity, and maybe to help someone else along the way.
This evening I will be cooking dinner… for one. At some point I will get into bed alone (or at least without my human partner, so as to not offend Princess Sophie). In between those I might pour myself a dram of scotch whisky to pair with a good cigar. That too will be done alone. Activities that, when she is here, are all enjoyed together, are shared together – cooking, cleaning, enjoying a quiet evening on the patio – will be endured alone.
I miss her already.