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    Are you ready to jump?

    When people say, “A long-distance relationship? I could never do that!” they usually don’t mean it any more literally you would when saying, like, “Call me any time.” It’s an exaggeration. An exaggeration of an abstraction meant as a compliment. I take it that way and respond in kind.

    Not infrequently, though, someone makes it clear that he means it literally, and that I do not get. I understand not starting a relationship with someone who lives too far away. Or if, say, your relationship has been rocky, a move away by one partner could be a convenient excuse for breaking up with no hard feelings before hard feelings break you up–I understand that, too. If it’s all working, though, the whole point of a relationship is to support each other through difficulties. What would I have said? “Well, Kyushu’s awfully far. And when I go out, I get a half-dozen numbers without even trying, so I’m thinking now might be a good time to explore some other possibilities”? I did enough exploring of possibilities in my twenties.

    I knew how Japanese companies worked before Atsushi and I met. People are transferred frequently, and at some point, even married couples with children often find themselves living apart, with the wife in the family house in Tokyo and the husband in a little company-provided cell near a branch office in the provinces. This isn’t some kind of unforeseen disruption. He’s the one who’s marooned in a boring city working a job that can often be dull. If he can bear it with a good grace, I don’t see why I can’t.

    Besides, he comes home often. Last night, we ran into a couple–friends of ours since we got together–who commented, affectionately if somewhat drily, that given how often they run into Atsushi and me at our usual haunts on Saturdays, you’d never know he supposedly lives in another city. He was here yesterday and today both because he wanted to have Thanksgiving with me and because, with my conference and subsequent trip home, we won’t be seeing each other for a month. Good, if brief, weekend.

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