5.2
June 1, 2019

A Letter for my Long-Distance Lover.

Walking down the street, I don’t need a calendar to tell that it is Friday. 

The loud laughs from around the corner and the aroma wafting from the restaurants are enough to make me wish I could share this night with you.

I find a cozy nook at a cafe. The music is loud and the conversations are murmured. Words from friends and lovers bubble out the doors.

I sit down. You take a seat in my mind. As I press the keys of my computer, all I can think about is a quiet night with you or a rambunctious night full of tequila and laughter. In my mind, we walk down a buzzing street except we’ve forgotten our exhaustion and our to-do lists and what day tomorrow is and yesterday was.

In my mind, I can feel the warmth of your chest on my back. Your breath caresses my neck as we share a full-bellied laugh. 

You rub your legs against my unshaved legs. My cheeks get warm, and I’m only now thinking about finding my razor and shaving them. I don’t think about these things when you’re away. You pull me closer as if to confirm that I don’t have to cut my legs off at the knees tonight. I laugh. You laugh. 

I think about what it will be like when we see each other again—waiting to walk off the plane or waiting for you to come through the gate. C24. I am holding my breath and shivering but not because I’m cold.

I check my phone every second as if I know when to expect a delivery or as if I know when the building is going to explode. Your text appears on my phone, and I smile at no one but a screen—a blaring screen, kind of cracked.

I tickle the keyboard of my phone as if with each keystroke I am physically touching you. My phone is the closest I get to having you beside me until your plane lands and we are in the same building.

Do I smell okay? Would you still like me after our time apart? Did I brush my hair? 

And then I see you. You see me. 

My stomach turns and flips and jumps. I lose my breath because my stomach knocked into my lungs, and I’m shaking with excitement and fear and nervousness. I become hyperaware of the coffee I drank that morning and suddenly I’m sweating. 

When I see you, my eyes drop to my feet. My mouth widens and my cheekbones are about to explode. My cheeks can’t bunch up any tighter. I feel like a two-year-old girl who can’t look an adult in the eyes. 

I manage to let “Hi” escape my lips. It’s like the first time we met. I don’t know what to say. How do I speak English?

I touch your hand as if I’m a scientist observing a specimen from another planet. We smile at each other.

I want to ask you about how you have been, but really I want to know if your family still looks the same. Do I still have a spot on your dresser drawer? The spot where we are frozen in time standing next to each other. Do you still think of me like you used to?

I want to ask you if we are going to continue this forever—the plane and sniffled goodbyes.

Instead of all these questions, I let my eyes simply meet yours.

I like the way we pretend like we saw each other yesterday—the jokes, the witty exchange, the way you poke fun at me.

My thoughts about long-distance relationships being crazy and illogical disappear as soon as I see your face, and they don’t return until you pass through airport security seven days later.

I’m still at the cafe, and it is getting late. I think about the way your lips would touch my neck when it’s late and I’m still at my computer. You embrace me from behind to say you’re thinking of me without any words.

I want to tell you that I’m happy. When I smile, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think of you or that I love you less or that I met someone else.

I want to call you as I walk home, but I forget that you’re already in bed. I call you anyways, and you answer—pretending like you were never asleep, completely present at every hour as if there weren’t thousands of miles and a time difference between us. I would hold my phone at the perfect angle so that I could appear somewhat desirable on your phone screen.

When I lose my phone, it feels like I lose you. I want to be on my phone when you have a story to share or a success or a celebration or a moment to cry—not because I need you or your stories. We’ve spent enough time on our own to be more than independent. 

I want to hear your stories because they embellish my life.

And when your eyes crease and your mouth curls into a smile on my tiny phone screen, I fall in love again and again and again.

And when you go through security, I wait for the next time I “randomly” run into you at an airport, and we meet for the first time again. And we fall in love. Again. For the hundredth time.

~

author: Michelle Gean

Image: Steve Hammond

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susan Jun 10, 2019 10:46am

Beautiful real and so touching Thank you!

marissa.018 Jun 1, 2019 6:10pm

“Kind of cracked” … 😉

This touched me so closely. <3

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Michelle Gean

Michelle Gean relishes the tapping noise her keyboard makes when writing or editing for Elephant Journal. As an engineer turned writer, she finds refuge in both numbers and words. When asked where she is from, she generally stares off, slightly confused and unable to answer that question. With family spread across the world, she has finally found her home in Boulder, CO. To connect with her or follow more of her life’s wanderings, leave a comment in the section above or follow her on Instagram.