It’s a tale as old as time. Girl goes on business trip. Girl meets Boy on dating app. Boy travels across the country to visit Girl. Sparks fly. Visits continue. A year goes by. Suddenly Girl and Boy are self-quarantined 2,300 miles apart.
Trey and I met, as described, on a dating app while I was in Louisville for a conference. I live in Sacramento. The odds were against us, but we’ve made it work. In normal times, we see each other every other month, maybe more often if our wallets allow it. We never say goodbye without knowing when we’ll say hello again.
In the meantime, we talk on the phone every night, text all day long, send each other songs we’re listening to or funny articles we’re reading. All the while planning our next visit.
Our last adventure was in February when we traveled to Denver for Valentine’s weekend. It was an absolute blast — a nearly perfect trip. We hiked Red Rock Canyon State Park, we ate (and ate and ate) amazing food and danced the night away at an awesome 80s and 90s themed party at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. At the end of the weekend, we got to the airport and sadly went to our separate gates, assuring each other we’d have our next trip in April or May.
What fools these mortals be.
Along came mid-March. You remember this part. The world shut down. Everyone stayed home.
Friends asked me for advice for their own relationships with their partners who were quarantined separately. I gave them my best. Don’t rely on texting — pick up the phone like we did in middle school. FaceTime. Set date nights where you watch the same movie at the same time. Send gifts or handwritten notes.
Over time, they started taking social distance walks with their partners, or having porch happy hours, or eventually just seeing each other. Meanwhile, Trey is still in Louisville. We can’t put our masks on and take a walk in the park. I’m not going to look out my window one day and discover him waving to me from the street.
I wish I could have a moment of Dr. Fauci’s time and ask him when Trey and I can visit each other, if we need to quarantine for two weeks once we get in each other’s cities, how safe airline travel is. I know he’s a very busy man but I’m sure he could take just a second to help me plan a romantic weekend getaway.
Because the distance isn’t the hard part. We figured that out a long time ago. We are both very independent people with many varied interests, so we are good at keeping ourselves busy. We are used to falling asleep on the phone together and filling our calendars with important dates in each other’s lives and being pen pals. We aren’t used to not knowing when we’ll ever see each other again.
We are in the business of looking forward. We are constantly looking forward to the next time we’ll get to be together. Our phones are filled with lists of restaurants we want to take each other to, events happening during the weeks of our trips, museums we want to visit, and fancy ice cream treats we’ve spotted on Instagram that we’re dying to try.
We now have nothing to look forward to. Any time we think about planning something, our realism kicks in. Sure, flights for a New York City adventure are only $400 for me in September, but what is September going to look like? What is New York going to look like? Will we be able to go to a Broadway show? Will tourist attractions be open? When will we know the answers to these questions? Dr. Fauci, are you listening?
We are aware that these are not problems. There are countless essential workers risking their lives for us every day. Staying home is not hard. Sure, sometimes I want to get out of the house, but usually, a walk takes care of that feeling. Staying home keeps our friends and neighbors safe and that is what matters. However, it would be nice to have something to plan with Trey, something to look forward to, knowing when we’ll be able to be together again.
But for now, Girl calls Boy. Boy texts Girl. Girl and Boy wait until it’s safe to come out, from 2,300 miles apart.
Previously published on “Hello, Love”, a Medium publication.
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