First, it was the hollowness in the messages trickling in on my screen. They felt like they had just survived another chemo session. At least there was a trickle, some kind of rapport being exchanged. Conversations could last all day and be infested with memes, but we laughed and laughing is glue.
Laughs dried up with the last messages that stopped coming.
Then, came the final meeting. When there’s been little, authentic talking and no meeting in person, a meeting is like a chug of cold water after a run. But the water was tepid and hard. There was no eye contact, no touch, no glimpse of giving this goodbye a decent burial.
Water on my face was gifts bought for her, returned to me. Amongst them was a gift to me, but I stared at the returned books. All hands were on deck pulling back the strings on my tongue.
It was now time to leave. Suitcases needed to be tucked to bed. Not a hug. Not a kiss. Not an excuse to walk to the car. It was a hug under duress.
There was no last phone call that she suggested. And there was nothing else in her words except a cold breeze that shut the door behind me.
As the plane rippled through the clouds, tears dropped and dried.
And now, life as I had it before I met her. Long days, no one to share puns and memes with. She made me appreciate both. No one to check in with and say hey, and to take in a ‘I love you’ like a snack bar. The small interesting things we see and find during the day, that you had grown accustomed to sharing with that person.
Today, I was on the train and I looked up from my flash cards. She had a face, carved with a miniature knife, delicate features and serene eyes. No real resemblance, but the same draw of my lover. I felt the draw and I missed her, for the first time in weeks.
Now, I just miss the ordinary moments where I found her there, where we would talk or jest or just ask questions until the day was over.