It doesn’t get easier. You don’t get used to it.

I sit in my dark room and stare into the seemingly-infinite, lonely darkness in front of me as I contemplate the number of miles between us. It’s been a long day, but I cannot seem to relax. I miss her. I replay the sign off of our last phone conversation in my head: “I love you, Matthew. Goodnight.” Those sweet words echo through my mind as I try to somehow ignore the pain of our separation enough to fall asleep. She loves me. Is she able to sleep right now? She loves me. I need to relax.

I imagine her touch. Her soft, gentle touch on my skin. I think about how our love flows back and forth between us through every point of contact. How I forget where my body ends and hers begins. Right now, I feel an emptiness in my stomach. A longing for the one person who completes my being. Pain. It’s pain.

How am I going to get through two more years of this–we’ve been apart for two days. My heart beats faster as I feel the pangs of anxiety start to coarse through my veins. I imagine her in her warm bed, sleeping peacefully. I hope she is asleep. I pray she doesn’t feel the pain of separation that I do, although I know she does. Eight. More. Sleeps.

I’m in the house of our dreams. I can feel the gentle weight of her head on my chest and her breath enter and leave her body as she sleeps peacefully. My hand rests gently on her back as I close my eyes. Calm. Safety. My stomach feels warm, and my heart is full with a feeling I can only describe as overwhelming love. Her breathing is the most peaceful, calming sound in the world. My eyes begin to feel heavy.

I wake up and reach for her. She’s not there. Where did she go? She’s always there. I saunter downstairs and hear the sizzling of eggs. My eyes focus in on her standing over the stovetop in my oversized t-shirt. Why does she insist on making me eggs? She hates them. I walk up behind her and whisper good morning in her ear as my hands rest on the edge of our granite countertop, the one we’ve dreamed of since I was 18. “We woke up late and I knew you’d be hungry.” How am I so lucky to have the most gorgeous human being and love of my life standing in this beautiful kitchen? I bargain: “I will only eat these if we can go back to bed. It’s lazy Sunday, my love.”

The loud whistle of my phone jolts me from the heaven that is our future. “I can’t sleep, babe.” A mixed sadness and relief waves over me as I realize that she is feeling the pain that I am. On one hand, I’m glad she feels as passionately about me as I do about her. On the other, I wish that she didn’t have to experience this agony. Our love is so real, so raw, and so magical, but the separation is excruciating. I pick up my phone and squint my eyes as I find her name–the lone favorite in my contacts–and press “call,” knowing that another long sleepless night away from the love of my life is ahead of me.

It doesn’t get easier. You don’t get used to it. It will be worth it. TC mark


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