And this is how it went…
This time felt different.
I bounded off the plane, zipped through the city, and gazed at the sights. My senses couldn’t take it. I whipped out my phone and dragged my suitcase behind.
Three months ago, we met in person. It was our first time after 11 months of dating. I showed her my favourite places and childhood spots.
Now, I was in her city.
“Welcome to NYC! Let me know if you need help with directions ❤️️”
A few minutes later, I was outside her building. She met me at the door.
It felt joyous.
24 hours earlier…
“Hi, my name’s Thandazile and I’m going to be taking you through this test.”
I stared at the webcam.
My heart was pounding.
She asked me to remove the foil and stick the bud up my nose. I did. If this came back positive, New York wasn’t happening. We waited.
Thandazile asked about my plans.
“Oh, I’m going to be seeing someone I’ve been dating in New York. I’m also meeting her parents for the first time!”
The nurse beamed. “That’s a big step! How are you feeling?”
She looked down at her timer. “Well, the good news is the test is negative. You’re boarding that flight!”
A week of celebration
It was like we’d never been away.
After meeting her flatmates, she helped me get settled and we shared a kiss. It was magical. Holding hands and being wrapped in her arms made the wait worthwhile.
We left the flat and explored NYC. Broadway. Bookshops. Brooklyn Bridge. The MET. Central Park.
What mattered most was spending time with her.
She sprinkled in memories, and I found myself falling in love. We talked about making things official on our first night together. Boyfriend and girlfriend. New York was the perfect backdrop.
I also met her family and friends. They affirmed what I already knew. I’m a lucky guy. She’s surrounded by wonderful people and close friends who adore her.
Her brother was a delight. He shared insights no one else could. Living together. Family dynamics. What struck me was his humility. He wants the best for his sister.
The same goes for her parents. During an evening meal, her dad jokingly asked me if I’d ever punched anyone. Her mum lept to my defense. “Jonathan, don’t be so inappropriate!” He smiled, coyly.
Her parents were sweet and made me feel at home. They shared their stories, love of musicals, and everything between.
I smiled at my girlfriend. She smiled back.
This couldn’t have gone better.
We want to make this work.
In the coming months, she’ll hopefully be flying back to the UK so she can meet my family, and then we’ll talk about longer-term plans. We’re excited at what the future may hold.
Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:
- Relationships don’t need to be forced. If it feels right, let the ball roll. There’s no need to push. Settle in and enjoy the ride!
- You’ll appreciate the small things. Lazy mornings. Blueberry pancakes. Cuddle puddles.
- Find someone who brings out the best in you. People connect to rough edges. Lean into your quirks and be unashamedly you.