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Blog #34: Trying to make things work long-distance ain’t easy (KJ)

August 12, 2019 0 comments

I can instantly tell something is wrong when I see KJ. It’s coincidence that we’re here surrounded by teenagers at a boba tea shop near my house. I’d texted him less than 24 hours ago to ask how he was doing. He’d texted me back to say he was going to be in California today. What?? Okay.

And here we are. Drinking boba tea and eating noodles. He half-heartedly offers to pay, but I win easily. He says he often feels like people take advantage of him for his money. I know I can’t keep up with his spending. If we ever hung out a lot, I’d have to get him to pay for most of it.

But, I can at least buy him lunch at the boba shop. As a side note, I’ve gotten in the habit of buying meals for all of these guys. I think it’s partially guilt-motivated.

It turns out: KJ is here to surprise Polly for her birthday weekend.

“You haven’t seen her yet?” I ask carefully. Bad sign #1. Why isn’t he with her, not me?

He rolls his eyes and shakes his head. He’s wearing his usual, carefully curated outfit: a nice sweater, nice jeans, and he’s been working out as usual. He smells like some expensive cologne and he has a small gold earring in.

The two had been fighting over a lot. Over what? I was unclear. She wouldn’t answer her phone when he called her. He has a tendency to video call. Often. Multiple times a day. I already know this from personal experience.

I don’t judge him for doing that with her, but I am also wondering: has he considered her school schedule? Sometimes, he calls me and gets mad when I don’t answer. I’ve had to explain to him that I was driving, or with friends, or otherwise not able to talk. I’ve had to explain to explain to him I’m not big on calling that often.

Or, are his suspicions right on, and she’s just sneaking around? If you’re really in a relationship, a 2-minute video chat everyday shouldn’t be a fight. It should be fun.

Now, his distrust in her has grown. He’s pursuing, and she’s putting distance. She’s in college for the first time. She’s been hanging out and partying with a lot of guys.

“She’s really hot,” he says factually. “So of course guys are hitting on her all the time, and I don’t think she’s mature enough to prioritize a relationship.”

The fighting has continued.

Now, he’s in California. He’d planned it as a surprise, but after the fighting, told her in advance. With a few days heads-up, he’d asked her for one thing: Please meet me at the airport.

Right now, it’s 4p. He arrived two hours ago.

What happened? I don’t want to ask, but he’ll tell me.

“She was out wasted with her friends,” he says. His anger burns under his calm expression, and under that, I’m certain he’s deeply hurt. I’d be, too.

“I’ve spent so much money on her,” he’s saying to me. Not just his flight, but a hotel room reserved, and whatever gifts he’d also bought. He’s about to go drive to see her, but he’s not optimistic.

“I give everything to a woman when I’m with her,” he’s saying. “She’s taking it for granted.”

Before we part, I offer him a floor in San Francisco to crash on if he needs it. I can’t promise him it will be comfortable, but if he ends up leaving the situation, it’s better than running into her in her small town.

Fast forward a few days. I check my Snapchat, where he religiously posts gym selfies and food porn. There is a video of her biking down the downtown river path. They’re teasing each other, but his voice is a little strained. She’s biking ahead and won’t slow down. I text him.

“How are you doing? Need a place?”
“I think it’s okay. For now,” he writes back.

“Good luck.” I mean that.

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