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Monday, 22 July 2013


"Three months..." Chris squinted in concentration, trying to remember the exact date he left Hong Kong for Canberra.

"THREE MONTHS!?!" I wailed in typical overdramatic fashion. "Feels like it's been six!!"

"Three months and two weeks, to be exact," he exhaled, finally focusing an unblinking gaze towards me.

I know that look; I know that tone of voice. He's doing his best not to cause me any more distress. But he's also laying the situation out to me sans sweeteners.

"Nine more months to go," I sulked, "enough time to get pregnant and have a baby."

Before he left Hong Kong to take on a job in Canberra, Chris and I agreed we'd give the new set-up a try for up to a year. And when that year is up, we'd then decide how - and where - to physically be together again. I might move to Oz, he might move back to Hong Kong, we might even move to another city where we're both able to find promising jobs.

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Chris has been back to visit me twice since he moved. Not bad; could be worse; not gonna complain. I didn't even mind the first two months, to be honest. I quite enjoyed my new-found independence. But for some reason, the third month has been especially trying.

"Nights are the hardest," I mumbled, not even bothering to set the table. Chris is visiting all of one day, this time around. He arrived late Friday night and was scheduled to leave early Sunday morning. I intended to milk every second of his visit, which meant not wasting time on a fabulous table setting. Besides, dinner's just takeaway spaghetti from Il Bel Paese - in gorgeous microwavable containers, of course. "I come home after an eventful day, brimming with stories - but I haven't got you here to share them with!"

Chris didn't hear me. Modern Family was on; he had ducked into the study to dig something out of his suitcase.

It was a small package, paper-wrapped by Cathay's multi-talented flight attendants.

"Happy Birthday," Chris said, simply.

I had forgotten.

I'm so horrible with birthdays, I've come to forget mine, even.

"Sweetbean!!!" I squealed. I ripped the paper off, revealing a gray leather case that contained two, sexy, portable, metallic speakers. Almost in unison, the cork popped off of a bottle of bubbly.

We enjoyed our fabulous, gourmet dinner. We laughed with the Modern Family 'til our bellies hurt. And by 11pm, we were both in bed.

He was up at 6am, gathering his stuff for a 9am flight to Sydney. He was getting ready to work through a mountain of post-workshop paperwork from a just-concluded consulting gig in Sri Lanka. I could tell he intended to be productive through the long flight to Sydney and the three-and-a-half-hour long bus ride to Canberra.

At around 4.30pm, my Whatsapp flashed with a message from Chris.

"Got an early bus! Arrive in Canberra at 11.30pm instead of 12.30am, hooray! Happy birthday week, sweetheart. Sorry I couldn't spend all of it with you."


Every Time I Close My Eyes is the first track - and the biggest hit - in Babyface's album, The Day. It was nominated for a Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in the 1997 Grammy's, eventually losing to Elton John's Candle in the Wind.

The Day was one of only two CDs I always had playing in the background on my first year of university. The other one was The Look of Love by Diana Krall. I came to terms with being gay whilst listening to these two CDs on endless loop. I was 16 - desperate to fall in love.

Every time I close my eyes, I imagined what being in love might be like.

Finally, I know.

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