It had been a whole month since Christmas Day before I opened my present from FML. He said it was arriving late but would be a big surprise. On a romantic dinner outing at a restaurant downtown he gave me a red envelope that simply said my name on the front in his cursive writing. As I opened the sealed envelope I saw him getting giddy with excitement.
“What? Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked him.
“You’re going to love me.”
“Aw, well I already do.” i smiled at him as I opened the envelope. I looked inside to find two plane tickets for Cancun, Mexico, one for me and one for him – just like in the movies.
“You didn’t! I can’t! Can I? Are we going to Mexico?’
“Yes baby, we need a vacation. You more so then me, I just want a whole week of you to myself.” FML said happily then winked at me.
“I can’t believe it. I can’t accept this, it’s too much.”
“It’s my Christmas present baby, it’s on me.”
“These say we leave next week?” I asked astonished.
“Yea.” He nodded, still smiling and beaming with pride.
“I have to work?”
“Just tell your boss you won’t be in the country next week.” FML answered nonchalantly.
“I’m sorry, do I look like the director of Fenty to you? I can’t just take a week off.” I said, toning down the excitement by about 10 notches.
“Baby, your in marketing. Just leave, pick up your laptop and just come with me.”
“Is your Valentine’s present going to be a new job?”
“No, my Valentine’s present won’t be here for another 5 to 6 months, give or take.” He joked.
So there we were – on a plane – headed to Mexico together. After two years apart and only two months back together, we were going away for a week to a beautiful resort. We had barely spent more than a weekend together and now we were spending a whole week – just the two of us.
I wasn’t as scared as I maybe should be, I was eager just to get there and take in the warm, sea-salted air. Canada was feeling frozen and I needed to thaw my body out from a couple of very tough years. Sometimes winter in Canada can feel as numb as it looks. You can’t go outside somedays, some weeks you never see the sun and some months just feel longer then others. After Christmas, I usually went into some form of hibernation.
Immediately upon contact I could feel the sun warming up my body from months of frost and wear-down. FML looked at me as soon as we stepped out of the airport and gave me a huge kiss.
“I’m so happy baby.” He whispered in my ear, then squeezed my bum in front of a group of people.
“Me too, where are we going now? Do we get on one of the buses?”
“No I booked a cab to take us.” FML said, sounding a bit confused himself as he looked at his phone’s email.
“A cab? In Mexico?” I asked.
“There, there it is.” He pointed to a man holding a sign with his last name on it. FML waved at the man, smiling.
“Are you sure?” But before I could ask he took my suitcase out of my hand and wheeled it away. I quickly followed my clothes before they could get to far.
The resort was incredible, from the adult’s only section to the room he rented that included a hot tub, it dawned on my quickly he had spent more on this vacation then he initially told me. FML had always made more money then me, it wasn’t a new thing in our relationship. He never made me feel bad about it. FML always told me ‘your the best writer ever,’ which, to me, implied he realized I wasn’t going to be bringing home the bacon while he brought home a whole ham. I wasn’t raised to accept money from a man, I was filled with independence, self-care and credit card debt. I knew other woman who easily took money from more then one man, I told them often I idolized them. I think women should get pay cheques from our government every year for putting up with men on a daily basis.
Taking money or a vacation from FML always felt a little off to me and I don’t think a marriage certificate would make me feel any better.
But here I was, in Mexico, on a trip I didn’t pay for and loving it.
It had been years since FML and I spent a whole week together like that. No phones or anyone to get in the way. Just pure us.
When we got home we were going to be pulled apart by our usual two hour road trip which probably made us more grateful for that time together. That’s the thing about long distance relationships, your just grateful when you can spend a week together. The fact that I hadn’t had a vacation in over three years, while being a reporter during a worldwide pandemic, made me feel like I had stepped into an early heaven. I ate too much, I drank too much, I swam too much, I slept too much, I danced too much. It was perfect.
When we got home I went into some form of PTSD and refused to come back to reality. We came back Sunday night and FML went back to his home Sunday afternoon.
Now it was close to two weeks since I had last seen him, and most of that was in a different country. He had gotten COVID on our way back home and was very ill.
That’s the other thing about long distance relationships, sometimes you do get torn apart and it’s painful because now you have this video playing in your head of how perfect the relationship could be versus reality.