Distance Lingered

“It’s not that simple,” he muttered, turning his face away from mine. We’d been sitting under this lonely lamp post for going on three hours and the conversation was all downhill. No one was in the wrong here, yet it seemed that we  were continuing down a path to a broken goodbye. I didn’t know how to turn things around, and that was all I wanted to do. I barely heard his sad mumbling because I was too busy racking my brain for the right words that would be able to salvage what was left of this brokenness. Nothing that came to mind seemed like it was enough.

For what had to have been the hundredth time that night, I whispered, “I love you.”

“I love you, too. More than anything.”

I smiled, but in the yellowed light, it was obvious where the tears had been streaming down my face moments earlier. Tears that had been pooling behind my lids for months.

I hadn’t cried since the night we said goodbye. Now, a month after we finally made it back to hello, it was obvious that things were no longer the same. There was a distance that lingered even in our hugs. I cried when I told him this, and watched as his eyes went dark and he dropped his chin to his chest. I knew he felt it, too. It was almost as if we were closer to each other when we were hundreds of miles apart.

“Things weren’t supposed to go like this,” I choked. “I just, well…I don’t know. I guess I just had all these ideas of what it would be like when I finally got to be with you. And now it’s not what I imagined and it’s hard to take in.”

“I’m sorry,” he muttered. “I don’t know why it’s like that, but it is, and I’m so sorry.”

I bowed my head. I didn’t really think it was his fault. Sure, he could put in more effort, but then again, so could I. I mean, I was sorry too. It wouldn’t hurt to try harder…or would it? Things were supposed to get easier when we got back, but the complete opposite seems to have happened somehow. The saddest truth, now inescapable: we were infinitely closer when we were far, far away.


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