It’s been a month of Sundays, lazy days, vacation days in which we could do anything, go anywhere. There have been road trips, endless helpings of Cookout and coffee, scary encounters with swerving truckers and alternating patterns of being up very early or sleeping in very late. We cooked a lot. We ate out a lot. And yesterday S. got on a plane back to the U.K., and now everything I do feels strange and weird and out of place because it feels like something’s missing. He’s missing. After 25 days being together near-constantly, the lack of his presence feels like something bigger than a missing limb – it’s as if I’d been cracked open, one lung removed.
It’s harder to breathe. I know that sounds a bit on the melodramatic side of things, but everything feels so very not right that it’s actually true. After so many days of constant physical affection – an arm around a shoulder, a hand on a knee – I feel far too loose and light, as if there isn’t anything holding me down.
I know it will go back to normal again – we both do. But for nearly a month, having him here was what was normal. Neither one of us want staying apart to become the thing we’re used to.
What the Living Do – Marie Howe
Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up
waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through
the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,
I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,
I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.
What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss—we want more and more and then more of it.
But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep
for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you.