On long distance


— this piece originally appeared in The Lifted Brow.

You will find yourself checking the day’s weather in two cities.

One clock will always be set to their time.

Airline gates will be places of physical affection, and you will become intimate with the rhythms of the airports between yourself and them.

You will forget what it feels like to fall asleep beside them, the precise feel of their skin ever diminishing. But you’ll find things about the way you love them that were shielded by proximity too.

There will be intense comfort in the sound of their voice. Their laugh, never really noted before, you’ll realise is one of the reasons you ever became entangled.

You will see them from afar each month as if for the first time, and each reunion will hold some of the awkwardness and intensity of a first date.

In the short time you’re united you will relearn the ways you fit together, only for that intimacy to unspool over the ensuing weeks.

It will be entirely different to what you had expected, and you will rage at circumstance.

The one who always used so few words will give the best expression of it: ‘Always there and never there.’

Like a phantom limb, you’ll think. That notion will stay with you as you exist in places they don’t live anymore that still sometimes make you ache for them.