Dixie Peach: Eight years

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Eight years

Want to know what I was doing eight years ago today? Specifically at this very moment I was boarding an airplane in Atlanta. Just me and five very large suitcases.

Why so much luggage? Because I was moving to Germany.

After all these years people still ask me why I did it and have no better answer than the sappy reply of "Love made me do it.". It's corny but it's correct. I was at a point in my life where I had nothing to lose and if my instincts and gut feelings were correct, I had everything to gain. People also ask me if I was scared or they ask how did I know I was going the right thing. I didn't really know I was doing the right thing. And I didn't see much point in being scared. If I wanted to be scared I may as well not do it and saved the money spent on airline tickets.

All I really knew was this. I loved B. B was in Germany. And I believed in us. So if I believed in us and B was in Germany, I had to be in Germany too. There wasn't room to think about whether I could take care of him or whether we could make it together. Those were things that had to be so I'd do whatever I had to do to make it happen. Why doubt that I could take care of a quadriplegic? Time would be better spent just doing it instead of fretting about my abilitites. Why doubt I could love a quadriplegic? I already loved him - his spinal cord injury was just something that came along with the package.

And yet with all the optimism and determination there were still sadness. Driving past my hometown's city limits made my throat tighten. Clutching my tearful mother and saying goodbye to her was harder than I expected. Flying from Memphis to Atlanta wasn't bad but when the plane from Atlanta to Frankfurt left the ground I was flooded with a wave of homesickness - a feeling that would repeat itself over and over for weeks yet to come. Flying over Washington, D.C. was hard as I'd lived in the area for many years and had so many friends there I was leaving behind. Finally when I flew out of US airspace I felt like I was closing a door.

The flight to Germany is long. I tried to distract myself as well as I could but all I could think of was getting out of that plane and getting started on my new life. I broke down the flight time into segments - drinks and snacks, dinner, movie, snack, movie, breakfast - but during those little inbetween lulls in the shuffling action from the flight attendants I began to wonder what my life was going to be like. Naturally I'd thought of this before but this time when I was really in the midst of making that all important start it took on a sense of seriousness and reality that it hadn't before condured up. And somewhere between the last movie and breakfast I'd made up my mind with actual conviction that I was in this for the long haul. This was my new start. This was the path I'd chosen. I could either go into this with the idea that I could quit if things got hard or I could go into this with the idea that I was going to do my best, I was going to expect the best and that I was going to keep the commitment I'd made when I decided to move. There was no sense in wondering what I'd do if things didn't pan out because not panning out wasn't an option. If I wasn't going to go into this will the full conviction that I'd made the right decision then I shouldn't have gotten on the plane. I was on the plane. The new life had started. And I believed in it.

There was one more plane to board on that trip - one from Frankfurt to Hannover. It's a short flight - roughly forty-five minutes. All you have time to do is sit down, buckle up, have some juice thrown as you, gulp it down, have the cup and napkin snatched away and prepare to land but even that was too much for me. I was tired. I was anxious. My hair felt lank and dirty and my skin felt as if it had some sort of film covering it. I was jet lagged, itchy eyed and would have sold my brothers for a cigarette.

I endured the landing, the luggage gathering and passing through customs and all I had to do was go through one more set of doors.

They opened. And he was there. And he smiled at me.

And I was home.


Blogger Mahala said...

I think you're an incredibly brave woman. Sometimes I have to have a pep talk with myself just to make myself venture into Walmart. I never would have done what you did, but it's because I'd never believe anyone would love me enough to make it worth the trip. You've found someone wonderful.. you're so lucky.

11:42 PM  
Blogger BarefootCajun said...

Gosh, this made me cry. You guys rock, you know that?

E and I had a deep discussion just Saturday about rough times and commitments to keep going when it got tough. We've had a rough patch for the last three years. A lot of marriages wouldn't have made it as far as we have. But we came into this knowing that there was no giving up, no cutting your losses and running when things got tough. That's kept us together and we're better people for it. Sometimes we just need to sit down and remind each other of that. :-)

11:56 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

My Shunner of Shoes, that's the way B and I have been. Know that part in Apollo 13 when Ed Harris says "Failure is not an option!"? That's the way we've treated this whole thing - this whole life together. If something's screwed up we get together and find a way to fix it because chucking the whole thing and giving up isn't a possibility.

My life with B is one of the few things I didn't tire of nor did I stop when things were difficult. I've quit a lot of shit before but not this.

12:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aw, dix. that was beautiful.

(although i'm not sure beautiful is the word i want to use, it's the only one i can come up with right now. so beautiful it is.) :)

2:16 AM  
Blogger sari said...

You made me all teary!! And that's not good because I'm sick, and now I'm clogging up again!

But it's all right, because it's such a good story.

Happy Eight Years and much love to you both. xoxo

3:34 AM  
Blogger Beege said...

I was trying to explain to a group of friends awhile back how when I met M I just knew. I likened it to "When Harry Met Sally" and an old couple on the couch. She looks at her husband and says simply, "I just knew. I knew the way you know about a good melon." Funny, but true. When I met M I knew that if we had the courage and the stubborness to stick it out through the hard times, we'd be very very very good together. And we are.

It makes me happy to read the same flavor of things for you and B. The respect you have for him (I've never once 'heard' you complain about him); the joy you have in his physical presence; the comfort he is to you. You don't see him as a quadripeligic. You see him as B. And because of that: we all do, too.

Smooches to you, sweet Dixie on this special day. :)

3:03 PM  
Blogger Kirsti said...

It's a pretty good thing to celebrate ... may you and B both enjoy this day, and share all the memories of the past 8 years. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheers and bravo to you, my friend! You and B. are proof that if you want someone in your life badly enough, you can make it happen regardless of obstacles. And that is a beautiful thing.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a very good story and I'm very impressed with your courage and determination... although, I do realize that when love is involved the meanings of courage and determination are altered in a way that the person displaying these qualities doesn't feel them in the same way they are perceived. When love is present, all things are possible.

It's inspiring and hopeful to hear about people who have found profound and enduring love. It makes me hopeful that I might find it one day and rather than sit and dither and worry about whether or not "this is really it," I feel like I can take comfort in the fact that I will "just know. Like you know about a good melon." (I've seen WHMS about 100 times, Love it!)

Dixie, I was curious about how you met and fell in love with someone who lives in another country... could you relate that story? I'd sure like to hear it, please.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post! it was kind of the same for p and i, except i wasn't moving to another country solely out of love for him. hell, at that point, i had no idea how things would end up with us (marriage). however, that whole sense of "just close your eyes, spin the globe, point and go and do it" was very much with me during that time -- and so i ended up moving to london with nothing but a backpack.

i do know that somehow we were drawn together -- the very first week i knew him (in real life) i was always joking about marrying one of these london boys for their citizenship. but i did so much better than that: i married a london boy for love.

i'm glad your moving ordeal is over!

6:30 PM  
Blogger Spinningsue said...

Hi Dixie, I too have moved halfway around the world from Australia to the UK although I didn't do it for love of another person but for respect for myself. It wasn't easy and I alienated half of my family but they came around when they realised I was going to do it anyway. It was something that I was doing for me and it was right for me. I don't regret it but I do miss lots about Australia but mostly I miss my best friend. We 'talk' to each other constantly by email and msn so we are still there for each other. Well done you for the having the courage to do what you knew was right for you!


8:27 PM  
Blogger zoe xx said...

That was such a lovely thing to read - I feel I've known you for such a long time, and yet I didn't really know anything about the story of you and B - so so glad I know now.

Smooches Frau GS (and B!)

9:31 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

You know, I still sometimes look back on my moving to Germany and think "Jeez. I can't believe I really did that. I normally weenie out on taking big chances and this time I really did it!".

Maybe we all get one big chance to do what we know deep down is right and if we just take that first step, we can't fail because it is, after all, our one big chance.

Candace and Sue, you both know how it feels. Your family thinks it's slightly nuts and it's not easy to explain to them why but you know you have to make that move to a completely different place. And Candace, my fellow Mississippian, you know how your roots run deep in Mississippi but you need to grow somewhere else.

You miss your homeland but you soon learn to feel as though you're extra lucky because you get to have two homelands.

Oh...and Katy, I met B online back in 1996. Just happened to chat with him one afternoon and we became email buddies and it turned to love.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Dix, I'm so impressed and encouraged to hear that someone met someone else online and their relationship is genuine and is working out. I met two people online and the first just didn't work out... although not a big disaster. The second, huge disaster. Consequently, I'm extremely resistant to the idea of ever meeting someone online again. But so glad to know it works out for other people! I knew it could work, I just knew it.

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh dix! that seriously made me tear up a little bit. i'm so glad things worked out for you and that B wasn't a serial killer ready to maim, kill and then bury your lifeless body in the German wastelands. :)

hahaha, sometimes i think i'm funny. just kidding. you know you and B are my favorite couple -- you two give me hope that somewhere out there, possibly in germany or russia, but hopefully paris, there is someone meant for me too.

5:44 AM  
Blogger Marshamlow said...

Beautiful story. I feel the same way about my husband, that I am home.

1:48 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

I am soooo glad I've read this, Dixie, before seeing you some day soon. I'm learning so much about you!

8:09 AM  

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