To Leave Her At The Airport

[Image description: Black-and-white comic with three panels at the top and one across the bottom. Top three panels have a starry night sky background, the first containing a speech bubble saying "I LOVE YOU", the second blank, and the third saying "I LOVE YOU" back. Bottom panel shows outlines of the UK and Sweden with speech bubbles from each saying "GOODNIGHT".]
By: Amelia A. J. Foy
Cover art by: Tanja Mölholm

A collection of words, drawings and photographs on what it is like to be in a long distance relationship: to miss them, to hold them, and to leave the person you love at the airport and fly home.

Summer 2015 (6 months in)

“I miss her. I love her. I love how she only holds a few of my fingers and how un-romanticised we make ourselves (while still being romantic). I love how easily she laughs. She’s so strong and has so much stacked against her yet she still smiles with her whole face. Her tongue tastes of cold water because she drinks it so much and her hands are smooth and small and feel safe on me.

[Image description: Photo of me pushing my girlfriend in her wheelchair from the back.]

“We fit. I’ve never fitted so well with another human being, coexisted in such harmony without needing to get my own space and recharge. I’d lay against the pillows with her tucked up to me, watching shows and listening to music all night(complete with awful singing), then the night after that, and all the ones that follow. What we have is so precious. I’m so fucking lucky and it hurts so much.” - Written in my journal, 25th August 2015

Winter 2015 (Almost a year)

[Image description: A slightly blurry photo of me kissing my girlfriend’s cheek as he grins and pushes her glasses up. I’m barely in frame; a forest and snow lies behind us.]

[Image description: Lineart drawing of me and my girlfriend. I’m in yellow and she’s in green, and there are leaves sprouting from the holes in our shirts.]

Summer 2016 (A year and a half)

[Image description: Pen drawing by my girlfriend of us on blue paper. We’re cut off at the neck with our eyes closed and our hair taking up most of the pages. Two runes are on our foreheads: hers symbolises “god(dess)” and mine symbolises“strength”.]

17:20 (boarded)
This hurts
This is pain
This is worse than I remember
Pain is hard to remember well
So I’ll keep going
And bury this
But right now this is clawing at my throat
Behind my eyes and nose
And I’m not even back home yet.

18:01 (airborne)
The clouds look so pretty up here
There’s a landscape painting outside my window-
Blues and whites and yellow undertones the
Sun makes everything look blessed.
I think I’m in heaven
(I think the plane is going to crash)
You’d love the view
(I don’t want to die and leave you)

19:12 (landed)
I hate landing
Suddenly the specs of life and uniform fields are upon you and
You’re so big and so small all at once and
This is trippy, these proportions, but
I’m an artist so I kind of understand
But I’m neurotic so I think the plane will skid down the runway and--
I’m (far from) home.” --Long Distance Sucks Sometimes, 3rd August 2016

[Image description: Realistic pencil drawing of my girlfriend sleeping, decorated with star stickers and the phrase “SWEET DREAMS”.]

Early 2017 (Almost two years)

[Image description: Spread in my art journal. Left side is writing (see below) and right depicts me sat in the corner, nude, with a collection of doodles: squiggly lines from my head, eyes, a sun, two mouths and a city skyline on a crescent moon.]

“I’m flying over the sea now and you’re sat in a car going home. I’m trying to embrace this sadness and longing I can feel brewing in my chest like a storm, and to push back the guilt I feel for being happy (just a little) that I can talk about everything we’ve done to everyone [back home]. Like we’re a cool TV show and not a relationship. I already miss you. Already feel like I should have appreciated you more in person. And it hasn’t hit yet, the impossibility of going back - that this mass of water I’m flying over isn’t so easily navigable. I can’t pop down the road to see you. It’s absolutely not fair, but one day, it’ll change. One day our worlds can fuse, like a poetic firework or something like that. I hope you’re okay; I’m thinking of you so dearly, so much, always. You’re so special. I’ll never met anyone I can talk to like you, I don’t think. No fantasy will ever realise better than you. I hope you can sleep well tonight, have sweet dreams, and can feel these things without them consuming you. (I hope the same for myself, too.)” --Written in my art journal, 4th February 2017

[Image description: Photo of my girlfriend and I from the side in the forest, wrapped up against the cold, grinning with our noses touching.]

“the look in your eyes
the way you say goodbye with your lips shut
and so many unfelt things pulled back
like the skin between your teeth.” --At The Airport, 4th February 2017

Summer 2017 (Two and a half years in)

[Image description: Photo of my girlfriend laid outside on a blanket, laughing and looking up, surrounded by bushes. She’s wearing a yellow dress, grey tights and an oversized denim shirt with two necklaces.]

“i love you
in the small holes in my bones
in the air between the mattress and the wall
in these pockets of stillness
where only the world is turning
i feel you on my skin
and know i love you

"but there are times where
the world stops turning
and i free fall
the drop in altitude makes
steadiness impossible
my hands shake trying to hold yours

"and there are times where
the world turns too fast
turns me into someone/thing else entirely
a storm:
the heart of it,
the calm before,
the thing itself
and you can’t (i won’t let you) touch me

Scan0364 - Copy.jpg
[Image description: Sketchy pen portrait of my girlfriend in reds, oranges and purples. In the corner are the lyrics: "i just wanna stay in the sun where i'm fine."]

"i love you
through all of it
with all of it
i love you
not just in stillness
but in rapids and vacuums too
if every mental illness
is muted momentarily
or if they’re all talking at the same time
i love you
raw and unholy
angels could never taste so good.” --How I Love You, 5th July 2017

[Image description: Journal spread in coloured pen, cartoon-style. Left: my girlfriend holding a big cup of tea with abstract rectangles showing the sun, clouds and a bench she is sitting on. In the steam from her mug, it says in capitals: “My girlfriend drinks a vat of earl grey tea every morning with cheese + marmalade toast.” Right: my girlfriend and I with legs entwined sat on a leafy branch, sipping from glasses with a straw, with a circle behind us with leaves inside it. Text on my leg reads in capitals: “and she makes a chia seed and cocoa drink sometimes as our lunch. It’s like chocolate milk but better and all dairy-free. Very yummy.”]

[Image description: My girlfriend and I on a bench outside a flower shop. We’re holding hands and she’s kissing my cheek while I look in her direction.]

To those in long distance relationships: it’s not the dead-end everyone says it is. If you find that connection with someone, no distance will ever change it. Special mention to my girlfriend, Tanja, for being an angel - I love you to Sweden and back.