I want to travel with you — just you. I want to explore a new place alongside the woman who raised me, who changed my diapers, who put up with my teenaged angst, and my rebellious college years. I want to see my favorite cities with the lady who taught me essential life lessons, like look both ways before crossing the street, and how to use a glue gun, that it’s not worth sleeping with every guy you meet, and that the most important thing in the world is to help others.
I want you to stop dropping me off at the airport for some trip I’m about to take, and start becoming my seatmate.
"As the mother of a friend remarked,
When my daughter married out of caste, it was a difficult transition for me. But, seeing how happy she is, I learned to view my son-in-law as an individual as opposed to that guy who wasn’t from my community. This has helped me in breaking a lot of mental barriers when it came to people in general.
This is a far cry from that time some years ago when getting approval from parents and family members for love marriages was difficult. Unless one was lucky, discussions, ultimatums, fights, banishment from the family were all a part of the saga, and I personally know couples that ran away from home to get married.
Not so much any more.”
—excerpted from How ‘love marriages’ break social barriers in India
“But you can’t call me every day,” I try to explain. I know he’s lonely. I know he’s depressed because he was fired from his summer job at the ice cream shop for calling his manager a “fucktard.” I know that I am the one stable thing in his life and it’s incredibly hard for me to be so far away from him, physically and emotionally.
But I’m in West Africa. I’m sore from churning palm nuts into blood-red oil. I’m confused by feelings of white privilege and my role as a micro-enterprise volunteer. Even walking from our village to the market in Hohoe is exhausting; the atmosphere is so humid, so thick, you can taste the air. Taking cold showers has become therapeutic.
“What do you mean, I can’t call you every day?” his voice is panicked. “I miss you. I love you. It sucks that you’re not here.”
“You can’t call me every day,” I repeat. “Because I don’t want you to. Because I am very busy and I’m learning so much about myself and it’s not fair to the others, if you call me every day.”
—excerpted from 3 portraits of failed long-distance relationships