Lucky you were born that far away so
we could both make fun of distance
Lucky that I love a foreign land for
the lucky fact of your existence
I think it’s very apropos that I met Medway in the nerdiest of ways: via webcam at a party hosted by a mutual online friend on the other side of the world.
I don’t remember much from that experience beyond being an almost drunken sort of tired. I’d gotten up at 4 AM to speak with people at 7 PM over in Brisbane, Australia. At some point after chatting with JB and the rest of the ‘Burger gang, Nat brought over Medway to say hello.
I knew of Medway though I hadn’t really interacted with him before. We spoke briefly and what I recall most from our short conversation was my reaction to him when he smiled.“Oh, you’re adorable!” I’d told him, as his grin widened, “look at those dimples!”
I went on with the rest of my day, over-caffeinating myself at work and then, hyper and unable to sleep, I stayed up too late online, reading Nat and JB’s reviews of the night. Medway had made some sort of comment over on JB’s blog, and I responded, and it quickly spiraled out into a playful flirting session that resulted in me giving him my email address and telling him to contact me.
I really didn’t think much of it at the time. I knew he was cute and fun but he was also younger than me and we were separated by continents and an ocean. I just knew I really enjoyed talking with him and wanted to keep the conversation going.
We quickly connected on every available social networking outlet—email, Facebook, Twitter. All while still flirting shamelessly over at John Birmingham’s Cheeseburger Gothic.
Soon we made our way over to Skype, and the second time I saw him on webcam I knew I was in a lot of trouble. There was no arrow or anything: Cupid full on bitch-slapped me.
It had been a very long time since I’d crushed that hard on anyone before. He was absolutely gorgeous to me. He had dark, kind of tousled hair and the most beautiful brown eyes I’ve ever seen. When he smiled his whole face lit up, and the corners of his eyes crinkled downward, almost touching his dimples and if I’d been there in person I would’ve embarrassed myself, reaching out without thought and touching that spot of skin where the two lines almost met.
That’s when I knew I loved him.
When he laughed it was the most joyful sound and I wanted to hear it over and over again, and I knew then it would always be my goal to make him laugh as much as possible.
In the past eight—nearly nine—weeks, we have clocked in hours and hours of time, texting frequently, and having epic, marathon chatting sessions on Skype. Our current record is over 10 hours consecutively.
What do we talk about? Everything and nothing. He writes stories for me, and I write stories for him. We’re writing a story together.
I love his accent. I love the way he says my name. I love all the idiosyncrasies that come along with speaking the same yet different language.
And yet, we have our own world. When we talk, our accents fall away. It’s not an American girl talking to an Australian boy. It’s Jenny and Medway talking, and somehow the Pacific has drained and the continents have merged and we could be just a room away, talking to one another. We’ve created our own universe, with our own language, our own rules, our own jokes.
What can I say about Medway? What can I not say about him? He’s kind. He’s funny. He’s clever. He’s independent. He is selfless. He will drop anything to help any of his friends, without ever expecting something in return.
He has all sorts of hobbies and takes absolute delight in them, without arrogance, without airs.
What I love most about him is that he is so completely, distinctly Medway. He’s genuine. He never tries to be anyone but himself. He sees life in such an interesting way. His perspective is utterly his, and every day I want to see the world through his eyes, more and more.
He’s patient with me. Though we’re six—NO, five and three quarters!-years apart in age, he is the more mature of the two of us. He’s thoughtful and insightful, and I don’t see him as younger, I see him as an equal.
I told him, only half-jokingly, when we first started talking that I was damaged goods. And he said, and has continued to say, “I want to help you piece yourself back together.”
I’m afraid of falling down the rabbit hole. I get sad and I’m afraid of falling and never finding steady ground again. He tells me, “keep going, I’ll pull you up out of the rabbit hole.”
“You Give Me The Kind of Feeling People Write Novels About”
What has Medway done for me? He wakes me up with a smile every day. He makes me laugh. He can sense—telepathetic!—when I’m sad or need to talk. Just this week I was in a bad mood, and he spent his whole day texting me and emailing me, trying to cheer me up, listening to my whining and complaints. I didn't find out until much later that he was having an absolutely terrible day himself. He set aside his own problems to attend to mine.
He is an amazing, generous man.
He’s creative, and writes me the most beautiful messages and stories. He knows me so well.
He’s made me brave. He makes me want to write. And not just write anything—he makes me want to be bold and write about things that I’ve been scared of writing, face things I’ve been scared of facing, because I know he’s standing behind me and won’t let me fall. He makes me want to go out and actually live my life, and experience things I’ve been too afraid to experience before.
I don’t know where life will take us. I do know I want to be with him, and I will fight for him, and cry with him, and laugh with him, and cheer him on and hold him up when he needs it. And I know him well enough that he would do--and does--the same for me. And the distance is a challenge but we’ll make it work. And if for some reason we can’t make it work—and I really hope that’s not the case—I want to say to him:
Thank you. I know we were raised on the Disney fairy tale notion that the prince is supposed to sweep in and save the princess and we’ll all live Happily Ever After. And I know from experience that this is not true, not at all, that we can only really save ourselves. But what you have done is sweep into my life and wake me up from a long, sad sleep, and I will always love you for that, and you make me want to keep going, and I want to keep going with you. It’s like I’ve been stumbling around in the dark and you’ve come in and flicked a light on for me.
I know I’m lucky to have you in my life, and I’m grateful for every bad moment I’ve ever had because in its own way it’s led me to you.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Meds. I love you.