Dear Darling Boy,
I suppose I am not confessing much when I say that I am not very good at being without you.
The daytime isn’t too terrible–I have my books and my papers and there are people all around to distract me. And soon after, there is the commotion after school, there is dinner and homework, the children. Then there is the evening rush of the Witching Hour when everything falls apart and gets sewed back together again. I think of you while all of this is unraveling, of course.
But it’s more wondering than missing–what are you doing? Who are you with? Do you have on your blue shirt with the sleeves half rolled up? Have you shaved today? And are you wondering about me?
These are the cursory mysteries of my day, here and there and gone again. These are the questions never answered, but always asked.
I am fine in the daytime really.
But it is the night that makes my throat ache from missing you.
I wait until I am very tired, so tired I can’t stand it any longer. I sit in my chair and think about going up to bed ten or twenty times, saying ‘no-no, I can wait a little longer.” But even when my eyes are half shut, I still walk around the house slowly, taking my time to lock the doors, to check to make sure all the children are present and accounted for. I am stalling. Stalling.
I go to bed alone. Your side of the bed is still made, the pillows have the crease of your head still in them. I like to lay and face where your face would be and imagine you there, the thin paper-white film by your eyes crinkled up, smiling. I like to think about touching your face, my palm at your cheek, my thumb at the space where your mouth parts. I like to keep my eyes open and think about how we have learned to belong together.
I leave the light on. The dark makes me miss you beyond reason. Maybe because when you are here, I feel like it is the darkness that makes us one person. It is the way you lay so close behind me, your one long arm situated finely beneath the curve of my neck, the other cupped up along my ribcage, atop me. These are the fractional seconds that no one but you and I and the darkness can understand.
Every night with you is a smooth milky way of dim shadows. First your arms melting into dreams of dreaming, of sex and space and then, finally, without warning, sleep.
I wake up to the shouting of the light on the nightstand and a hangover, like I drunk too much emptiness and find it still remains. This is the bleakest part of when you are away.
I think we don’t think about these things when we are together. We should.
If there is passion in the absence, the love is in the constancy.
And the constancy is what keeps the light on, calling, calling you back to me
until safely your arms are here,
until the lamp is darkened
until you are back here and smiling
belonging to me once again.