My Harley Man
By Jennifer Purdie
On my final day in Sydney, my Aussie love and I zipped along the coastline on his cherished Harley for a last-minute road trip. We endured cross-hemisphere flights and middle-of-the night Skype sessions to accommodate our 18-hour time difference, but now we came to the inevitable “will we or won’t we make it” point in our relationship.
He slowed the motorcycle to a stop and turned his head around to face me without looking into my eyes. His facial expression turned to something of deep contemplation; I tended to mirror the emotions of those I was with and I could feel my own face falling.
“I think you have no intention of ever moving to Australia,” he said.
I wasn’t surprised at this statement. I think he stated the obvious. But this abrupt remark felt like he turned the breakup on me rather than expressing how he felt.
“I know you wanted to come to Australia to see if this could move further and I wanted to show you my life and how I live and for you to see if it is the type of life you want, but I really feel like this trip was for me. It’s made me see you in a different light.”
I turned to face the water and spun around on the Harley to move my back toward him — a simple movement profoundly displaying my emotions.
“Well, like I just said. I don’t see you ever moving to Australia. I don’t think you would ever be happy here.”
I could feel the tears starting to well up in my eyes and tried desperately to hold them back. I wanted to be a strong woman and take what he was saying to me without emotion, maintaining a stoic face, but I couldn’t. I started rubbing my hands together and then rubbing them on my leg, trying to concentrate on that, rather than my feelings.
I spoke a few words. “I have gotten the impression throughout this week that you don’t want me and that…makes me sad.” My voice started to tremble, but I didn’t want it to, so I spoke the last three words slowly. Part of me wishes I had a time machine and had this week to do over. He didn’t want me, but despite everything, I still really wanted him.
Paul sat down next to me on the rock, but didn’t touch me.
“I took personal time off from work this week just to spend time with you and I wonder if it was worth it. I don’t know if it really was.”
That comment stung.
We stopped talking at this point. I didn’t want him to see me cry so I just kept my head turned away from him. We both stood up and walked back to his motorcycle without speaking or holding hands. I swung my leg over the bike and we took off to his home. I did get to put my arms around him one last time during that ride.
I didn’t want to let go.