-Giant fake sequoias and a rising sense of panic, an urgent text–“I feel supremely un-okay”–and then reassurance, caring
-A long drive that turned out to be so much more perfect than a short one
-Your hand on my leg
-Almost crashing, over and over, but not really feeling scared
-Drinking bourbon straight from the bottle
-Holding each other, frantically, because this was finally real. It was touchable.
-Crying in the bathroom; missing my friends
-3 hours of sleep
-Watching you drink a mug of coffee, black
-A drive that I never wanted to end
-Waiting for you outside the bathroom
-Your hand on my back
-A long lazy lunch
-“Where does he think I’m from?”
-Stealing kisses in the car
-2 hours behind a budget truck (high centered), and absolutely not caring. Being content, just to be there. Just to be near you.
-Skipping a nap and dinner in favor of tall glasses of whiskey
-Being unable to get up off the couch
-A ridiculous party, never-ending laughs, running home, pretending to be asleep
-Piecing together the night before
-Popcorn for breakfast
-Coming home sweaty after a run to your smiling face
-Changing with the door wide open
-Screaming Turkish music, and meeting new people
-Feeling like I ought to live up to expectations; feeling unable to do so
-Being so, so cold all of the time
-A secret spot
-Saving the end of the story for later
-A night in with mota, wine, and The Tip of the Iceberg
-Waking up earlier
-Talking for hours in bed, and an internal sigh of relief
-Teaching each other
-A complete meal (bet you anything those pancakes weren’t vegan)
-A walk on the beach
-Watching you watch me watch you smoke
-Hanging out, looking at pictures, smoking, talking
-Meeting my twin!
-SLAYING IT at karaoke
-After being so nervous and anxious that I was about to ask to leave
-Because karaoke is infinitely scarier to me than any other performance
-Because you were drunk and instantly so comfortable with me, while I felt uneasy. And guilty.
-Out of my element
-A failed dance party of two
-A quick drive to the airport, and goodbye for now
* * *
I don’t remember perfection, but I remember everything. The amazing parts, the scary parts, the anxious parts, the hunger, the hangovers. It wasn’t perfect, and I am not perfect. I am real, and so are you, and so is this.
As real as the pain of its absence.
As real as the relief of its return.