Love and Distance

Posted on June 30, 2011



Being in a cross-cultural couple often entails having to go through the hassle of managing your relationship from a far distance, for at least a little while.

For those of you who have never had to love someone who is thousands of miles away, consider yourselves incredibly fortunate.  For those of you who have endured years upon years of long-distance, well, Uffda.  My condolences.  Juan and I were together-but-apart for eight months, and even with the aid of Skype and daily phone calls and lovey-dovey text messages, bleghck- couldn’t stand it.  Long-distance relationships are very near the top of Things I Do Not Like To Do list.  Along with packing, and unpacking, and eating mushrooms, and having to stick your hand into a garbage can in order to throw your garbage away.  Ew.

But I digress.  Whether you have lived through far-off romance or not, everyone can relate to longing for more quality time with a loved one.  Of course, we also all go through times when we don´t want to be anywhere NEAR our spouse, or when breathing room is necessary.  But then we pass through periods when busy schedules or general bustle cause us to lose touch with our other half; and life just isn’t as juicy without mi media naranja. 

In those times, when you just really want to be with the person you love, you might feel a bit like Neruda describes in this sonnet.  Here’s to some Thursday-eve nostalgia, friends. (Spanish, then English.)


Soneto XLV

No estés lejos de mí un solo día, porque cómo,
porque, no sé decirlo, es largo el día,
y te estaré esperando como en las estaciones
cuando en alguna parte se durmieron los trenes.

No te vayas por una hora porque entonces
en esa hora se juntan las gotas del desvelo
y tal vez todo el humo que anda buscando casa
venga a matar aún mi corazón perdido.

Ay que no se quebrante tu silueta en la arena,
ay que no vuelen tus párpados en la ausencia:
no te vayas por un minuto, bienamada,

porque en ese minuto te habrás ido tan lejos
que yo cruzaré toda la tierra preguntando
si volverás o si me dejarás muriendo.


Sonnet XLV

Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because –  
because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long  
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station  
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.  

Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because  
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,  
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift  
into me, choking my lost heart.  

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;  
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.  
Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,  

because in that moment you’ll have gone so far  
I’ll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,  
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying? 

You won’t die.  With a little creativity and lot of patience, you’ll be able to bien amar your bienamado even from a distance or even amidst busy busyness.  Eventually distance and time decrease, kind of melt away, bring you together again.  And if they don’t, you take the tough decisions to move or change jobs or leave behind family to be together.

Or eventually schedules stabilize and return your companionship to normal.  And if they don’t, you stabilize enough to find the ways to show some cariño to get back in touch.  Little love messages in lunchboxes are a nice touch, or surprise gifts lying in wait at the end of the day, or wallet photos to remind your loved one hasn’t gone far off, hasn’t left you, but really is right near.  Cheers to that.

Posted in: Poetry, Relationships