It was a wintery January evening – the 31st to be exact - and the city of Kingston was lit-up. An ice-sculpture sat in Market Square, marking 150 years of Canada. The rink behind City Hall was smooth and bright, and skaters flew over the ice - or fell ungracefully - behind us. And Liz and I – armed with our cameras and hats – were there to photograph love.
The couple who met us downtown that night were winners in our second giveaway: Jack(lyn) and Straub. They told a story of long-distance love, and being the eternal optimist types, we ate it up with a spoon.
Here, in Jack’s words, is their story:
“No one really sets out wishing for this, but life's circumstances make it so. I met my partner in university - by the time we started dating I had decided to go to college across town. No big deal - I saw him regularly that first year.
But then he went to another university for a great program. Then I went on a co-op placement. Then he went back to his home town. Then I went back to college... the first five years of our relationship were great spurts of being apart!
The glue that held us together? My '97 Toyota Tercel.
I put a lot of miles on that thing for years, driving all over the place on weekends!
Eventually we moved in together. We bought a house and got married. Alas, academic pursuits can't be ignored - six months after our wedding he was gone again.
It comes down to perspective: you can be sad about it (and at times I was) or it can be an adventure. I loved having a house, and also an apartment in the city! How posh and metro! (Yeah, it was a shithole apartment with roommates, but... perspective.) We learned a lot those years. I'm glad we did it. I'm glad it's over.
Also: thanks for that Tercel, Dad.”
I can easily imagine it: All that time on the road, the phone calls, fuel bills, and strife: the not-so-joyous elements of long-distance love. I remember all-too-well these times in my own life, separated by provinces or just by hundreds of miles of road from the one you love. But these times are transient. Plus, they’re character building (I like to say many things are character building: Dutch weather; Canadian weather; bad dandruff; um… a lot of other stuff). It’s easier to talk about long-distance love twenty years down the road, perhaps. Love endures. Love conquers all. Love is enough. All that jazz.
We walked around for about an hour, looking for the light. Shop window signs, a spooky green floodlight, an overhead string of fairy-lights – we put the love under these spotlights and took some snaps.
Our lovey couple was happy as can be. They’re in the kind of comfortable love that doesn’t require public tongue, much as I tried to coax them… This, by the way, I rarely do, given all the lip-service I pay to ‘candid’ and ‘unposed’, but the moment felt right: tucked away in the solitude of Clarence street, under a stream of hot laundry vapour escaping from the Keg. Well, they laughed at my tongue suggestion, but welcomed some stolen snuggles. Also, they were growing increasingly cold… and hugging with thin jackets can only take you so far.
So, Liz steered us to the Duke, where we ended off the night with pints of hot chocolate & Bailey’s (or Guinness, for those who would otherwise object), and talked of life, and changes, and distant memories, and growing up.
And Liz and I walked away happy to know that we’ve captured some new memories for them, which you can view on this blog.
Liz & Viara
We want *real* love, raw, & unplanned. unposed. Quirky Love hits the streets looking for the type of love that doesn't need fuss.