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April 15, 2020

Long-Distance Love in a Global Pandemic: A Letter to the One I Cannot Be With at This Time.

distance
[ˈdɪst(ə)ns]

1. Something no longer measured in length, but time.

(it has been 53 days since I last pressed my lips against your neck and breathed in the warmth of you)

(it has been 53 days since I last breathed)

2. The space required between one another to keep safe.

(open highways give way to closed borders and your skin is cold to the touch behind this glass screen)

3. A word used to describe feelings of loneliness during times of indefinite isolation.

(I no longer know how to define my life other than with you or not with you)

4. A degree of separation unable to be overcome at this time.

(and still the planes are grounded and I am alone at an airport with nothing but a handful of credits and you are not here, you are not here, you are not here)

~

To the One I Cannot be with at This Time.

No matter how I try, I cannot get to you. And believe me, I have tried.

I have sought every possible way of crossing closed borders without getting caught.

I have stood empty-handed in every airport hoping for a flight that was never called.

I have calculated how long it would take me to walk to you (approximately 55 days and 7 hours) and imagined your face as I arrive on your doorstep. How it would light up with your smile that melts me every time. How you would pick me up in your arms. How you would never set me down again.

I have cried rivers hoping they would become oceans that would somehow close this land between us.

I have yelled and screamed and argued and bargained and still, I am found defeated and it kills me that I cannot be with you at this time but this, my darling, is how I will love you in the distance:

I will call you every day if only to remind you of the mountains I would move to be with you if I could.

I will answer your video calls even when I am wearing the same clothes I wore yesterday and still haven’t washed my hair because even in this sadness you tell me I am the most beautiful woman you have ever seen.

I will make playlists of the songs we call ours and send them to you so we can cry together (you know “Oceans” by Seafret still undoes me the most every time).

I will write long hand-written letters of how much I miss you; chronicles of this never-before moment in history our grandchildren will one day read and pass down to their children.

I will open Google maps and draw a line from you to me as if it can somehow connect us and then I will do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

I will look at our photos every day; my fingers will trace the lines on your face until I know them by heart, not feel (those same lines I have touched a thousand times when your face has been close to mine).

I will stand beneath the same sky as you and declare my love to the stars and ask them to kiss you as you sleep.

I will fall asleep every night holding your favourite sweater in my arms and breathe in the faint scent of you that still lingers after all this time.

I will make sure we do not lose our physical connection; I will slip on my favourite lingerie before I call and you will tell me all the things you would like to do with me and we will still be lovers even when we cannot touch.

I will make coffee for you every morning and cross days off the calendar until you are here again and I can watch as the morning sun picks up those irresistibly sexy grey flecks of stubble on your face that you hate.

I will write a poem for every day you are not with me—a collection of our stories, our prayers, so we may never forget how hard we fought for this love.

I will cook your favourite food and watch your favourite shows and listen to your favourite podcasts and read your favourite books for no other reason than it will make me feel closer to you.

I will plan our future. Mostly, I will plan our future.

Because when all of this ends. When the world is no longer afraid. When there are no more closed borders and grounded planes and fallen economies and people dying by the thousands from a virus we cannot contain.

When all of this ends, my love.

Is when we begin.

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author: Kathy Parker

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