Anyone who tells you that long-distance relationships are easy, like taking a Sunday stroll in your favourite park, is as mad as the Mad Hatter in the midst of a acid trip.
And I can attest, not so much to the Mad Hatter's deteriorating mental state after dropping a few tabs, but to the incredibly trying mental and physical battle that being in a long-distance relationship embodies. I wouldn't wish it on my deep-seated sworn enemies or my most hated adversary.
I can, after spending 628 agonising days (not that I’m counting) apart from the woman I love, make that bold statement.
The tale of Ez and my forced physical separation, however, is best kept for another time, maybe over a bottle of whiskey while watching the Notebook.
I can say, without divulging the crux of the story, if you and your partner share the unbridled strength, resilience, love and devotion it takes to prevail, you'll come out on the other side of the storm stronger than ever.
Now it's on to a decidedly more light-hearted tale.
Days after our highly anticipated, nerve-filled reunion, we headed for Paris, a city Ez, since she was old enough to pee on her own, has always dreamed of seeing.
As we arrived in the city of love Ez showed a level of excitement that would give any kid at Disney World a run for their money. The boundless, youthful energy she emitted gave off an aura so electric I found myself, ordinarily grumpy and stoic, enjoying each and every moment.
Trekking across central Paris by foot, we kept our energy levels artificially high by munching on crepes at every turn. My insatiable sweet tooth tends to crave Nutella, while Ez is usually keen on a more savoury option. She does, however, devour a Nutella crepe every now and then.
Always abuzz with life, our senses were drawn to the countless sites and sounds Paris offers up. Popping a partner’s city cherry adds an indescribable sense of enjoyment and fulfilment and seeing the twinkle in Ez’s eye as she first laid eyes on Eiffel Tower made me feel like a Parisian virgin once more.
We navigated Paris by foot to absorb fully the city’s wondrous sites and sounds. A photographer’s utopia, Paris’ buildings, streets, monuments and historic sites are some of the Earth’s most captured. The challenge is making each shot your own, separating your images from the innumerable others.
Ez and I share a passion for capturing a moment and meandering the streets of Paris brought ample opportunity to quench our photographic thirst. We trekked, sauntered and marched about 10 km per day, often with complete disregard to the location of our final destination. It isn’t the final destination that holds sway, but the happenings and memories made along the way.
During one of our extended Parisian walks we agreed, like thousands of couples before, that we wanted to make an indelible mark on the French capital,
something to eternalise our Paris sojourn. So it was off to Notre Dame to clip our lock on the bridge, contributing to an array of love stories from years past.
Our dream to be etched forever in Parisian folklore was short-lived. Minutes after securely fastening our lock to the bridge, an NBC news crew approached us, cumbersome camera at the ready, requesting an interview about the impending whole scale removal of all locks. Our lock – along with thousands of others – due their combined weight and bridge safety concerns, was to be removed the following day.
And while one day is better than none, we take great solace knowing our relationship is immeasurably stronger and stubborn than the bond on that lock.