ask me anything : the story of bebop and rocksteady (part 5)
I’ve had a few people request that I do an open-ended “ask me anything” series on BTHR. So, here it is! You’ll see me answering a reader question each week. Submit your questions by e-mailing me or commenting on this post. If you want to be identified in my answer, include your name and website (if applicable).
Literally, ask me anything. I’ll answer anything!*
*Okay, maybe not anything, but almost anything.
You can see previous AMA responses here.
I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking that Babyface professed his love and told me he was right outside my office and when I looked out my window he had a boom box on his shoulders playing a Peter Gabriel song, right?
Well, not exactly.
But he did tell me he missed me. And that he had a fabulous time. And that I was everything he’d hope I’d be and more. He said enough to put me back in a content place. He assured me that he wanted to figure it all out. And really, that was all I wanted from him.
Before we could go about figuring it all out, there was one, giant, huge task I had to do—I had to tell my parents.
After work that day, I drove to my parents’ house, walked in the door and immediately blurted out what I had actually been doing all weekend. I was so raw with emotion and completely exhausted that I really didn’t have the mental capacity to go about it any other way.
Bless my parents, they were obviously concerned, but mostly just curious. I’m sure behind their cool exteriors, they were totally freaking out, but that would have been the absolute worst thing for me at that point. They asked me questions about Babyface and seemed interested without being judgmental or confrontational.
In other words, they handled it in exactly the way I needed them to handle it. And for that I am eternally grateful.
To say the next month was not easy would be the understatement of a lifetime.
Babyface and I both had our fair share of wishy-washyness. To devote yourself to what would likely be a painful and complicated long-distance relationship was a tough pill to swallow. Especially in the first two weeks after our meeting, there was a lot of soul-searching on both sides on how to proceed (if at all).
There were a lot of teary phone calls. But we were thinking about it (mostly) rationally. We knew if we were going to make this happen, we both had to be totally, completely in it. There is no half-assing an international romance. At least and end up with a successful relationship.
Finally, after days and days of “negotiations,” we solidified a few truths:
- We loved each other. Yes, he finally said it. And meant it. And explained why he couldn’t say it before.
- We were remarkably compatible. Other than that whole living in two different countries thing.
- Neither of us believed that we could truly figure out where this was going to go without some time together in the same zip/postal code.
- Neither of us were ready to throw this away because it was hard.
So we hatched a plan. I would move out my parents’ and get an apartment. I would drive up to his hometown, pick him up and he would come and stay with me for 6 weeks. At the end of that, we’d drive back up to Canada, he’d resume his life and we’d make some decisions regarding our future after that.
We did a bit of research on immigration laws and discovered that Canadian citizens could be in the U.S. for up to 6 months without any sort of visa (Canadians escaping the harsh winters did it all the time). Our 6 weeks of “playing house” was well within the law.
On May 12, 2006 (one month after we met in person, 3 months after we met online, and coincidentally, the same day my sister was pushing my nephew out of her body) at 5 a.m. I left my parents’ house in Southern Indiana and made the 17 hour drive, by myself, to Thunder Bay, Ontario. It was easier than I thought. I think the adrenaline and anxiety of getting to see Babyface again made the drive fly by. I pulled up to his house around 11pm that night, he came out and hugged me and I 100% knew we were making the right decision.
I went inside, met his entire family (who literally and metaphorically welcomed me with open arms) and then excused myself to Babyface’s bed where I passed out. Driving for 17 hours straight is no easy task.
The next day, some of Babyface’s friends wanted to have a party for him before he left for the next six weeks (and honestly, they all probably wanted to analyze me, too). I met every one of Babyface’s closest friends. It was a lot to take in and I was still exhausted from the marathon drive. I wasn’t myself. Normally outgoing and social, I was quiet and a bit shy. This party was the beginning of both Babyface and I losing a lot of close friends over the course of our relationship, but that is another story for later.
The party wrapped up early that night, because we were leaving the next morning. Yes, I drove up on Friday, stayed Saturday, and we were leaving on Sunday.
Sunday morning, we packed up Babyface’s stuff. It was a lot. I had just moved into a new apartment and even though Babyface was planning on leaving in a month and a half, he wanted the stuff to stay with me.
We were so naive. It never even occurred to us how it would appear to anyone on the outside.
We said good-bye to his family. Drove 45 minutes to the U.S./Canadian border and were both completely giddy with excitement. We were going to start our life together!
We pulled up to the U.S. border patrol, he asked us a series of questions (as they always do), looked around the car and then asked us both to come inside.
The border patrol officer asked me to sit in the waiting room while they took Babyface back into a secondary interview room. About 15 minutes later (it felt like an eternity), the border patrol officer came out with Babyface and my heart plummeted.
The border patrol office said, in a stern but pleasant-enough tone, “Miss, as a U.S. citizen you are always welcome back into your home country. But I cannot let Mr. Johnston in the U.S. as this appears to be an attempt at illegal permanent immigration.”
to be continued . . .