…something so new and strange and off-kilter.

Oh my darling, I’m so sorry.

We crumbled rather than crashed, and I’ve come to believe that it hurts a lot worse that way. The impossibilities of our reality wore us away like salt water strips away old paint. Time wasn’t really on our side – if it had been, we’d have met back in Wabash. And I’m not so sure anyone else was on our side either, not really. The people who knew us also knew our faults, and unlike us, they couldn’t be fooled by a spark. And maybe that’s all it was – maybe I was foolish to take stock in something so new and strange and off-kilter. But I miss you all the same.

I wish I had more time. It was new to me, being so effortlessly open with you, and I’d kill to keep feeling that way. You were so present for me. You were always accessible, always honest, and never a bullshitter. I loved the ways you teased me, picking fights just to uncover another secret corner of my personality. I liked telling you when you had food in your beard or tags left on your clothes – anything to hint at how well I paid attention. I soaked up the details and tucked them away safely, praying I would always be adding more.

Then one day you told me that you were going away. I’ll never unsee the dread in your uneasy eyes as you fumbled over the words. I’ll never unknow the shake in your voice or your palms as you explained what you had to do. We still had some time, but goodbye started right and then and there. We began to crumble, simply because we tried to hold one another too tightly.

These days, I mark off boxes on the calendar, I pull up our texts, close them again, open again, write something up, delete it, repeat. You promised you’d be around. Even if no one else cared, you’d stay present for me. And I so appreciate that, but darling, you may have overestimated my capacity to wait. I miss you, my friend. I miss you so much more than logic would allow. I need you to hurry back, laugh when you sneak up on me and I jump, and open your arms for another one of those unapologetic hugs. I’ll wait forever, but please don’t make me.

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