It is tough for me to write about everything which is happening now. As Anna pointed correctly, the fact that Boris and I won’t see each other in person indefinitely is the worst. I didn’t even realize that that’s why all other things hurt me so badly that I am losing control over my life.
People often think that because we do not live together all the time, and only see each other every several weeks, it’s not something which should affect us so severely. However, all of the periods between our visits to each other are planned and pre-calculated. Most of the time, we know our schedule for several months ahead. And we try not to be away from each other for more than six weeks.
This time it was supposed to be longer – eight weeks. But there was not much we could do: I had my surgeries (and three and a half weeks before the first surgery to be contacts – free). And then we were going to go to New York for the conference, and there was supposed to be a week full of talks, presentations, training, meetings with different people. It was supposed to be our professional highlight of the year. Because of all that, I was OK to wait for two more weeks – we did it before.
And now it is indefinite.
Boris is always joking that he needs to have a visa to the US only to be able to go to the conferences. And although I know that he is joking, sometimes I would feel that he says it for real (I know, it’s silly to think like that after being together for thirty-two years, but … ) And I was touched by how he was trying to get here even while the situation was becoming more and more uncertain. Again, we didn’t have much choice – his travel was also carefully planned, and two days before his scheduled departure, he had midterms for his HSE students, which didn’t happen after all. Even if we would be OK to lose substantial money, he could not change the flight to an earlier date. That is also great, after all, because otherwise, he might not be able to go back.
The best part is that he didn’t go to Saint Petersburg for the midterms. If he would, he won’t be able to come back to Finland – the trains stopped running the next day. All of them. And to stay in Finland now seems to be heavenly in comparison to the rest of the world. Although their COVID cases are increasing, their curve is so much flatter than in other countries. And they do not have any reported deaths yet. Boris says that even cafes are opened, and there were only a couple of days of the toilet paper crisis.
I was thinking about the longest time we ever spent without seeing each other: that was when I moved to the US, and it was seven months back then. Now that I think about that, I think it was in some sense better because I had so many problems to solve, and so much new information to process. But as Boris pointed out today, at that time, we could send at a maximum one email each day to each other, and only on the workdays. I had to write a text, copy it on a diskette, and give it to Val so that he could copy and send it from his email address. And I could call for ten minutes once in two weeks. 72 cents a minute.
It is tons better now because today we talked on FaceTime at least four times, at least for twenty minutes each time. And over the weekend we will probably talk for at least three hours. And we can see each other on the screen. And I so-so-so hope it won’t be more than those seven months twenty-three years ago!
I know that to stop crying, I need to start doing things. Boris is right when he compares his current long stay in Finland to Boldinsky Fall of Alexander Pushkin, who had to spend several months in his estate in Boldino because of quarantine for cholera. The sooner I will start thinking this way, the better for both of us. We have things to do.
And I know that only death is irreversible. We can figure out the rest.