Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Long Distance Relationship: the Black Queen Story Part 2

After returning to New York from my UK visit to meet the woman who would eventually become the Black Queen, I continued to talk with her every day. Using a combination of telephone calls, internet Instant Messages, and email, we kept in almost constant touch. I had made the trek across the Atlantic to see her, now it was her turn to come see me. She decided to come for a long weekend during the bank holiday period at the end of May, 1997. I was deep in the throws of that school boy excitement which accompanies the start of a new relationship. I looked forward to showing my new love around New York.
She found the best airfare deal with United Airlines. I found myself waiting outside the customs area, in the terminal that United shares with British Airways, at JFK international airport, on the shores of Jamaica Bay, New York. Once again, I was waiting for a British woman to arrive at a New York airport. It was almost deja vu to the situation nine years earlier, when the Great Michelle came for the first time. My new lover eventually walked through those doors, smartly dressed. She had classy taste in clothes. She was shorter than Michelle had been, but still beautiful, with the dark hair typical of most Chinese. The softness of her hair might only have been outdone by the smoothness of her skin, which was the color of honey, also a gift from her Chinese mother.
That first night in New York, we went to see a film. "The Fifth Element," starring Bruce Willis, was my selection. She liked the film, but had trouble staying awake. She was tired from her journey and the five hour time difference between New York and Britain. When it was 10PM in New York, it was 3AM back in the UK. We were invited to Princeton, by Paula, my ex-girlfriend, for a special event on Saturday. I was still friends with Paula and wanted to remain so. I decided the best thing was to foster a friendship between my new girlfriend and my ex, right from the start. When they met, Paula found my new love delightful. We went to a fireworks display with Paula and one of her coworkers, held on the Princeton University campus. Paula told her coworker friend that she was shocked that I had managed to find such a gorgeous new girlfriend, so quickly after Paula had broken up with me. On some level, I was enjoying rubbing Paula's nose in it, just a little bit. I wasn't totally inconsiderate of Paula's possible feelings and tried to keep the public displays of affection a bit muted, while we were Paula's guests. My new girlfriend had other ideas, though. After the fireworks, we attended a dance and she dragged me out on the floor, despite my reluctance, romantically dancing with me in front of Paula and her friend. My new girlfriend was a feisty little thing and I think she wanted to mark her territory in front of the other women. It was another thing I admired about her.
After the evening with Paula, I took my new love sightseeing. It was her first visit to New York and I loved showing her the sights. We went up the World Trade Center, rode the Staten Island ferry, and visited Time Square. She had never ridden on the back of a motorcycle and since motorcycles where my main mode of transport those days, I took her for her first ride. Paula loaned us her helmet for the occasion. My new love thoroughly enjoyed the motorcycle ride. All too quickly, the visit was over and she flew home. She planned on a longer, two week visit during the summer school holidays, when her husband could look after her two children. Before then, an issue arose. I had planned a trip to Hong Kong for June, 1997. I had been planning it for three years. Originally, I had been going with Paula, as we were still a couple when I started to plan the trip. After Paula broke up with me, she asked if she could still go on the trip with me. I had agreed, because there was no reason not to, at the time. Now, with a new girlfriend on the scene, things became more complicated. To make matters worse, my new girlfriend had lived in Hong Kong for part of her life and still had relatives there. She wanted me to postpone the trip and go later, with her. I didn't want to postpone it, as I wanted to see Hong Kong before the British handed the colony back to the People's Republic of China (PRC). I wanted to see the place before then, in case the Communists changed anything. The handover was scheduled for June 30, 1997. As it stood with my trip plans, I would leave Hong Kong just ten days before the PRC took over. The only way out of the dilemma was to invite my new girlfriend to go with us, so that's exactly what I did.
My new girlfriend kept declining my invitation. She claimed that she didn't have the money. I made it clear that she only needed the airfare. I would be able to cover her accommodation and food, just not the airfare. Still, she claimed she couldn't afford it. I suggested she borrow the money from her mother. Who knew when I would go to Hong Kong again? In fact, it's been ten years and I have not yet returned there. She made the excuse of needing to take care of her children. I pointed out that their father was perfectly capable of taking care of them. No matter what arguments I made, she would not give in. We remained at an impasse and I went without her. She never let me forget that as long as I knew her. Having Paula with me on the trip proved useful, as I had Paula call my new girlfriend from Hong Kong, in case her husband answered. Despite my new love claiming she was separated from her husband, they still lived in the same house together. Sure enough, he answered. Paula asked for my girlfriend and then passed me the phone once she was on the line.
After I got back from Hong Kong, my new girlfriend (I have been trying to avoid using her name, as I took a vow never to utter her name after she ended our marriage, but it's getting tedious. Let's call her D---a, from now on), D---a, sent me a dozen roses for my birthday, in July. Then, in early August, she flew to see me for two weeks. We would spend her birthday together. Before she arrived, I had a talk with Paula. I asked Paula if there was any chance that she would want to get back together with me, in the future. Things seemed to be getting serious between me and D---a and I didn't want Paula turning around and saying she wanted me back, after I got heavily involved with my new girlfriend. Paula said there was no chance and I threw my lot in fully and unreservedly with D---a. During the two week visit, I took D---a to the lovely barrier beaches of Long Island. D---a later told me that up to that point, she wasn't sure if she wanted to maintain our relationship, but after that two weeks with me, she decided she wanted to commit.
At the end of August, I went back to Britain to visit her again. She had finally gotten her husband to move out of the house and I was able to stay with her. It was the August bank holiday weekend. in Britain, and her kids were with their father, so we had time alone. It was that weekend that Princess Diana was killed in the car crash, in Paris. D---a knew I had a soft spot for Princess Di. I was laying in bed when she called up from downstairs, where she had gone to get us some drinks, that Diana was dead. "You've missed your chance, dear," was how she put it. At the end of my trip, D---a finally took the step of letting me meet her children, Ellen, age 7, and Harry, age 4. I usually tended to shy away from getting involved with women who had children and I was probably more worried about meeting them than they were about meeting me. They were so beautiful and affectionate to me, right away, that my apprehensions disappeared. They went with us to the airport, when I was leaving, and I remember them both giving me big hugs before I walked through passport control.
I invited D---a for Thanksgiving, that year. I have written about that visit, previously (see "Thanksgiving is a Thursday," 23 November, 2006), so I won't go through the details again. They are available in my blog archives. I went to Britain for Christmas. I bought D---a a pair of white sapphire earrings. I also bought Ellen a special edition, Christmas Barbie doll, from F.A.O. Schwartz, and Harry a toy gun and soldier play set. It was my first time, as an adult, buying presents for children. I was deeply in love with D---a, by this point. However, the long distance between us was hard to put up with. Clearly, something needed to be done about that.

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Blogger jenni said...

I loved reading your post which speaks of a wonderful long distance relationship. It is truly the undercurrent of mutual love and respect that keep these kind of relationships alive. Though you two live miles apart, there is an undefined and invisible spark, that has kept your relationship alive.

5:00 AM  
Blogger JosephintheBracknell said...

I'm glad someone liked it. The internetmakes long-distance relationships easier.

7:23 PM  

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