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After reading his email, I sat for a few minutes, smiling to myself.  His message was short “You never told me you were planning a trip to the US! Any chance you will be coming to LA?“.  Finally I typed “Nobody in LA ever invited me...“. “Well, consider yourself invited” came a quick response. Mission accomplished.

The trip was planned for my school break in February, so I had a few long months to wait. Those months weren’t easy.  My thesis was stuck, the condition of my father, who was diagnosed with cancer the previous year, was deteriorating, and to top it all off, on the night of Jan. 17th, Saddam Hussein started sending Scud missiles our way.  Not wanting to be by myself when the sirens sounded (usually at night), signaling that we had to enter a sealed room and put on those horrific gas masks, I moved back in with my parents.  Throughout that horrible time, I had one thing to look forward to.  My trip.  We kept emailing each other daily, making plans for the 3 days I would stay in LA, and it was apparent that he was as excited about this visit as I was.  

As the date of my trip neared, I wasn’t sure if going was the right thing to do.  The Gulf War has not ended yet, and I felt bad about leaving everyone behind and going on a vacation when my family had to live with the daily missile scare. At the end I decided that this trip could determine my future, and I owe it to myself to go.

LA was my first stop.  The trip from Israel to LA took almost 24 hours, and I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep on the flight.  When I finally landed in LA I looked and felt like a rag.  And there he was, waiting for me, smiling.  He took my backpack from me, flung it over his shoulder, hugged/supported me with his other arm, and I felt very happy and content.  The next 3 days were a whirlwind of tourist attractions, good food, and hot nights.  It felt so good to be with him, so right! And best of all, there was no sign of anyone else, and believe me, I checked!  No extra toothbrush, no phone calls, just him and me. One thing bothered me though. He didn’t say anything about where we were going from here, and I was too shy to ask.  Finally, on our last night together I decided to take the lead and do something. I told him I was in love with him.  He didn’t reply.  The next day he dropped me off at the airport.

My next stop was a friend’s house in SF.  As soon as I arrived at her house, I told her the story. We rehashed the whole thing over and over again, and she advised me to call him and understand once and for all how he felt about me. With my heart racing so fast I thought it may explode I made the call.  The conversation took less than a minute.  “I told you something yesterday and you didn’t reply“. “Yes, I’m sorry.  I really wanted this to work, I was very excited about your visit. But the magic just wasn’t there for me anymore.  I’m sorry“.  I was crushed. It was Valentine’s day.

The rest of the trip consisted of lots of shopping therapy and self pity. I lost him for the second time.  I knew it was time to move on, and I knew that for my own sake I couldn’t keep in touch with him anymore.

My father passes away on April of that year.  I was very disappointed that he didn’t write or call me.  I was sure he knew because both his parents and brother came to pay their respect.  A while later I started dating someone.  I knew he was just my rebound guy and wasn’t the one for me, but he was really nice, and we had a lot of fun together.  Slowly my heart was mending.

By the end of the summer of 91 I was done with the research part of my thesis, and although I still had some writing to do I felt I needed a major change in my life.  I took a job in a different city, broke up with the guy I was seeing, and felt good about myself again.  I went on many blind dates, and was sure that somewhere around the corner there was someone  for me.  

And then, out of the blue, I received an email.  All it said was “are you not talking to me?“.  “we can talk” was my answer.  And just like that he re-entered my life.  But it was different this time.  I was in a better place myself, I knew I won’t let him break my heart again, and I knew I was strong enough to be just long distance friends with him.

A few more months have passed, I was done with my thesis, and one day my advisor called me with some great news. The paper I wrote was accepted to a conference in Vancouver and I was to go there and present it.  I was thrilled, and that feeling of accomplishment got me to start thinking about continuing my education and going for a PhD.  And I had another trip to plan!I I called all the friends I visited in America the previous year, telling them I’ll be in the area, making plans to meet.  All but one.  I wasn’t going to get my heart broken again.  Emails I could handle.  A face to face meeting was playing with fire.



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