I practiced spinet for about three hours yesterday, and while it was trickier than expected (the action on a spinet is very different from a piano; you have to strike the keys much harder, for example, and my fingers are very sore today), with a little practice before the event, I think I can manage not to embarass myself or the people I'm accompanying. It was very satisfying to sit down, work hard, and get relatively accomplished on four pieces in three hours -- I don't think I would have had the discipline to do that a few years ago. If I had had that much discipline as a kid, I think I would probably be a concert pianist today. Strange, no?
Came home, meant to make dinner, reaized I had nothing to cook. Took some curry buns out of the freezer and reheated them. Not bad -- better than a frozen tv dinner, at any rate. Then Kevin called.
We talked for a few hours. I have been missing him fiercely, and our schedules haven't been so good even for talking (much less visiting), so I was in withdrawal. It was generally a good conversation, with a few bumpy spots, and when I got off the phone, I felt much better about us. Or so I thought.
I woke up crying this morning. Not hard, and I don't really know why. I woke up slowly, and I think I must have been half awake for a while, listening to the rain, which is coming down hard outside my windows. Rain makes me think of him; we have a lot of good memories associated with the rain. I was coming out of a dream with him, and I don't know if I was unhappy in the dream, or unhappy to be leaving the dream. I think the latter.
Four years. Gods. Maybe five, maybe more. We spent a while talking about how long we're going to be apart. I have two years of coursework, that I must be here for. He's doing a post doc -- next fall or the one after, he'll probably be settled somewhere in a tenure-track job, and while it might be Salt Lake, I'm going to have to hope it isn't, because I'd rather not settle here for the rest of my life. So we assume elsewhere -- we're hoping for Boston, New York, Chicago or the Bay Area, although there are other, less pleasant, possibilities. While he gets settled, I do my coursework. Then I have a year of exam-studying, and 1-2 years of dissertation writing. They recommend we stay here for that time, but we can go elsewhere. If everything's still well between us, I may go live with him then. Of course, I may also take a year and do a Fullbright in Sri Lanka (not much communication then!), and it's almost impossible to predict what my writing might need at that stage. I might want to go hide in an isolated room. Hard to tell. So it's possible that we may spend 4-5 years living apart...but wait, there's more.
So what happens at that stage? I get my doctorate, and then I get a cushy job where he is? Well, that would be nice, and the degree I'm getting (if I do it well) should give me a lot of flexibility in job hunts. But it's entirely possible that none of the schools near him will have openings for Fiction professors. Impossible to predict. And I may not be tenure-track right away (I'm not sure how this works in fiction), so I might need to go do a post doc or a visiting professorship somewhere -- and if so, it makes sense to take the best job offered, regardless of location, so that I'm more likely to be able to get a permanent job, later, that's in the same city as him.
Four years, five, six, seven. We've been together eight and a half years now -- but three and a half of those have been long-distance. If we're not careful, we'll soon spend more time apart than we have together. And whether or not our relationship can survive the distance, the prospect of doing so makes me sad.
I could have gone to Chicago with him. Remind me again why I signed up for this gig?