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.

Let’s continue with the Story of Bebop and Rocksteady. You can read other parts here: part one, part two, part three, and part four.

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 doโ€”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 . . .


  1. Eden says

    GAAAAH! The suspense!
    This is the best love story I’ve ever read! I can’t wait to find out what happens next! You should seriously write a book – You’re a truly talented writer!

  2. Anonymous says

    Cassie, I’m a regular reader but I never comment (because I’m shy!) but I just wanted to thank you for sharing this. It made me cry.
    I’ve known my own “Babyface” (he’d HATE being called that, though! Haha) for 4 years now. I don’t believe in soul mates or “the one”, but he’s about as close to any of that as a person can get. It seems like it, anyway. We met online (on an IMDb message board… yeah…), fell in love after talking nonstop for months, and then parted ways after we realized we really couldn’t make it work. He lives in Sweden; I live in the US. We’re both poor as sh-t and lacking the time for a trans-continental trip (neither of us have ever even crossed the Atlantic).
    Eventually, I moved on to another relationship (which, in retrospect, I feel was just to replace him as I don’t really have any fond memories of that relationship :S) and we didn’t speak for about 9 months. By the time he had contacted me, I was out of the relationship but he was about 3 months into a new one. We became close friends, and by the end of 2009 I felt myself falling for him again, but it was so hard because he was with his girlfriend whom he loved and while he loved me as a friend, I doubt he felt that way about me. We sort of got out of touch for a bit in 2010, which helped me get over him, and then once again we were able to continue a friendship, just chatting and keeping tabs on each other. It was easy to not get too close, because a) we stopped talking on AIM and instead did it via email and b) he still had a girlfriend, and this time around I was able to be okay with that and let it be.
    Then, in August 2010, his girlfriend broke up with him. I was his support system through that, which meant once again chatting 12-hours straight every day with him. And once again, I fell hard. Like in ’09, I kept quiet, and even when he flirted with me I kept it (relatively) platonic, by telling myself that he was just trying to get affection from anywhere he could, and I really didn’t want to hurt him by leading him on. Internet relationships are hard, and 3.5 years later, our situations hadn’t changed much except we were older. Although I had what I would classify as a massive crush on him, I did not want to get in another one of those, and I knew he didn’t, either.
    But months passed, and we got closer and closer. I cheered him up, and he cheered me up. He made me laugh, and I made him laugh. He challenged me intellectually, and I did the same right back. We discussed everything ranging from completely serious conversations about human anatomy (we’re both science nerds) to silly conversations about human anatomy, from Top Gear to the distinctive sound of ABBA, from our futures to what we were having for dinner . Nothing was off-limits, and we shared everything. We found ourselves getting happier and happier. By December, after a very emotionally-charged conversation about our future, we could no longer deny what was happening. We were about as much in love as one can be over the internet… again. At one point, and this makes me tear up every time I think about it, he told me, “I didn’t have to talk to you again. I hadn’t spoken to you in almost a year, I had moved on, I had a girlfriend, and I never talk to my other exes. But you’re special. That’s why I came back. You’re just too special to let go of that easy.”
    So we started to try again, and once again it didn’t work out. Neither of us have webcams and international calling is too expensive for us afford, let alone international traveling. We can love each other with words and pictures on crappy cell cams, but that is not enough and we both knew it. Plus, since our only form of communication had to be on the internet, we were abandoning our lives in order to talk to each other. I greatly appreciated this: “Later, when people questioned how we could possibly be engaged after spending so little time together, I said, ‘I talk to him more in a day than you probably talk to your partner in a month,'” because it’s so true. It’s weird, but I got to know him over the internet far quicker than I’ve gotten to know people I’ve met offline. You just have more opportunity to communicate, and when the only person you want to talk to is online, and you’re able to be online, then you end up spending hours upon hours sitting at the computer. But I digress!
    Unfortunately, the only possible way to get over someone who goes so well with me and is just in general so amazing, is to stop talking to him. We’re on a “hiatus”, imposed by me, until I’m feeling better. It’s been almost a month, and it sucks because I’m trying to shake that hope that it’ll work out, while missing him like hell. I’d love to move on and not be sad if he gets a new girl, and not feel guilty if I meet a boy or purposefully close myself off from the prospect of a relationship because of him.
    Annoyingly so, this story is making it harder to shake the hope that one day we can “be”, but I’ll forgive you for that. ๐Ÿ˜›
    I’m so sorry for the long comment, but I just read all that you’ve posted on the subject and felt the need to share my story. Although international/online relationships are always hard, you’re lucky it was only Canada. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Lastly, I am so, so happy for you and I wish you guys the best. <3

    • says

      Okay, this breaks my heart. I know you are trying to move on, but I really, really think it is impossible to move on from what is meant to be. Good luck, I hope you figure something out (with or without him).

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