The past few weeks have been painful. I had a bad toothache on top of my chronic neck issues. Sleeping and eating became extremely difficult. Like a city that still hasn’t been able to repair the flood walls after the last devastating storm, it did not take much time before waves of despair washed over me.
Yes, I knew that eventually this round of suffering would likely end. Antibiotics did finally do their thing for the infected root after a few days of excruciating pain. But I’m also more keenly aware than ever of my own deteriorating condition. I have gone to the gym faithfully for years, live a generally healthy life, and yet it is all simply a matter of time before I’ll succumb to old age.
It’s been a rough year, maybe even a rough decade, as the strong have fallen and yet another romance seems to be up against impossible odds. The death of Uriah, despite my best efforts to prepare for the outcome of the terrible prognosis he received, is still difficult. And now the unexpected circumstances of the pandemic are a real threat to my most successful relationship.
It has been over two and half years, early January of 2019, since Charlotte and I have been physically together. I had visited her over the holidays two years in a row and might have done the same had a contractor, remodeling my house, not overstayed their welcome. So, thinking the immigration process would soon be underway, I had promised Charlotte that I would visit the next year if she was not here.
Unfortunately, as December of 2020 approached, it soon became very clear that I would not be able to keep my word. Travel into the Philippines, for a foreigner like me, had been banned. It was, to say the least, a huge disappointment. And, obviously, having not come through, my own credibility also took a huge hit. Sure, I could not have known, but then how do you assure of anything in times like these?
I’m still not allowed to visit my love and there’s no end in sight to our wait. The Philippines is unusually strict as far as allowing noncitizens into the country and the immigration process, already arduous, has slowed to a crawl in the current pandemic era. In any year prior to 2020 there’s a good chance that we would be buying plane tickets right now for her and her son. Now everything is uncertain.
It is torture. What has remained of my hopes is being severely tested. Sure, the first step of the K-1 Visa process may soon be underway (we submitted our paperwork at the start of the year) yet the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) hasn’t even started to review it. The estimated start of processing is 6 to 8 months, we’re on month 8, and they could deny our application. And that’s just the start, then it moves on to the US Department of State.
Very recently I’ve heard that the Embassy in Manila isn’t even doing the interviews right now and, if true, this would mean a tremendous backlog of cases. They’ll likely force Charlotte and Y-dran (her son) to get the experimental vaccine or at least make it exceedingly hard otherwise. I’m not completely comfortable with that and yet what choice does one have? They basically have us over the barrel. Even with full compliance we’re looking at possible years of additional waiting.
It is so completely unnecessary that Y-dran has to wait even longer to have a father in his life, so absolutely unfair that Charlotte’s patience continues to be punished with one more year of waiting, and that’s not to mention my own distress trying to decide what is best considering the circumstances. It seems every path I try to ease our suffering is met with a new obstacle.
Just today, as I further explored our options to visit or meet somewhere, I found the ticket prices for my go-to airline have about tripled from last time that I looked and are pretty much prohibitively expensive. I do not even mention that sort of thing to her right now because it is too depressing too talk about. Maybe I’ll do a GoFundMe to raise funds if there is actually an option for us to see each other.
At this point nothing else in my life matters besides my obligation to Charlotte and Y-dran. If it weren’t letting them down, it would be easy to jump off of a bridge given the current outlook. I’ve been stuck in this nightmare of having my most sincere romantic hopes be dashed by things unforeseeable for decades. I’ve already endured complications that extended our seperation for years and now this.
Prior to the pandemic we would likely have everything processed by now and would be purchasing tickets. Now it is perhaps foolish to believe that we’ll ever be together or at least not for many years. Which, given our current ages, and the ticking biological clock, could mean that we never have children. At the very least, I’ll be even older and in less favorable condition than I am now, which is a very hard pill to swallow for both of us.
I’ll admit that my resolve is being strained to the max. Given my physical battles and my history of seeing everything possible go wrong in pursuit of happily ever after, there is this nagging fear that the past couple of years have been wasted on a lost cause and that I’ve dragged down to other people with my own delusional faith. I know Charlotte could find another man. Am I selfish to hold on? How long do you keep dreaming before giving up?
The problem is, if I give up, I’ve given up on life and love—I have let cynicism win.
Then again, it does feel that the odds are stacked up against us. Why would this all happen right now, when we already had such a tough journey? We’re up against the world, a cold-hearted system that doesn’t care about our story nor our love. Those making these decisions, processing our paperwork, can hold out indefinitely without feeling an ounce of our pain. We’re not giving up although maybe we have picked a battle that can’t be won.