Distance is hard and, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, it has become a struggle that everyone is dealing with. However, I have been faced with a surprising new relationship amidst all this distanced living. Before having to leave Los Angeles and head home, I had just met a new and interesting person. He was sweet and funny and I wanted to know more about him. But, I thought that would all be put on hold, or even lost, when I had to leave Los Angeles, unsure of when we would both be back. Surprisingly enough, that was not at all the case and I found myself creating something very unique with this new person I was only now meeting. Turns out, distance may not be as lonely as it seems.
I was introduced to him only once before having to leave. I did not even have time to put a name to the contact before having my bags packed and in a car on its way out of Los Angeles. I was disappointed because I knew I could not see him and I did not even know his last name to find him on Instagram and slide into his DMs when I wanted to make a cute but private comment on something he posted (my signature move). Nonetheless, I barely knew the guy and so I was not quite “heartbroken”, just a bit disappointed. However, I got a text from this very funny and very sweet guy about a week after the whole evacuation ordeal. It was out of the blue, but is that not what makes it the more intriguing and adorable? I mean, who texts someone out of the blue, knowing they cannot see them and after knowing so little about them? Someone who has had you on their mind…exciting!
The texts were fast at first. The standard back and forth of “how are you?”, “bored of quarantine yet?”, and “cool!” were exchanged by the minute. It was nothing crazy and it was one of those things you expected to die off within a few days, especially since you could not see each other in person. I have always treated texts as a type of communication that was only used when necessary, like to share a crazy story that I cannot wait to tell or to ask a simple question. Never serious and rarely meaning much. I am the type of person who needs to talk in person, craves the sight of my friends and expresses a lot of who I am in the way that I talk, not in what I say. Maybe he was that type of person too, but that only means that this time was the exception for both of us. These quick texts soon turned to slow texts, but they were different. Instead of cordial questions and quick replies, we only exchanged a few texts a day. These texts, however, were long, split into multiple parts, and had personality. I took so long to respond because what I said occured naturally throughout the day. I did not just type “filler” words for the sake of responding, but I talked about things that I was actually compelled to tell him and so told him with a natural pace. This was unique because so many people would lose interest after not getting a response within the hour. I used to be one of those people, but I think quarantine taught me a lot about patience, enjoying what comes naturally, and embracing another person as they come and when they come. It was sort of like sending a letter, where you send something without expecting an immediate response and try to say all that you can, only including the best parts. No filler.
Before I knew it, weeks had passed and the texts had continued. Now, though, we were beyond texts and we connected through other things too. We sent crosswords to each other, played multiplayer games, shared recipes to cook, exchanged crazy dreams we had, and sent each other links to songs with no description beyond a “I think you’ll like this (:”. It was like a digital romance where the focus was on a personal connection. It was nice because, thanks to the distance between us, how much we cared about each other was transparent because we both, everyday, had to show initiative to stay connected. It was not as easy as it was in person where showing initiative was making an effort to show up to a party the other person might be at. We did not even have the luxury of showing we cared through a simple wave on Bruin Walk when we made eye contact while walking past each other. Everything was intentional, had thought behind it and meant something more when at a distance.
I do not have much else to report. It has only been a few weeks after all. Nonetheless, whether this works out or not, it has already been an amazing experience and I know I have another amazing person in my life because of it. What makes it even better is that I do not know when I will be back in LA and, even though he knows that I might not be back for awhile, we still talk as though we will see each other tomorrow. Do not let this pandemic be a pause in your life. You do not need to completely forget about what could have been and you do not need to do something massively productive. However, try to do something that makes you feel like a person in the world, not just a person in your own head, within the walls of your own house, or standing in line outside of Target, six feet away from the rest of the amazing people who make this world what it is.