I woke to a gray, damp morning. The kind I like. The kind that makes me dream. I shuffled to the kitchen and brewed my Columbia blend coffee, part of my free half pound of beans I get for working in a coffee shop. It smells delicious, like a hike in a forest, deep, sweet, earthy. The liquid warms up my insides, which are deliriously cold in your absence. It’s only been two days, but two is like an eternity when my orbit spins in circles through a weightless atmosphere.
The world is so dark outside my window, so restless, so peaceful. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it does to me. I haven’t felt this much in a long time. I haven’t felt at all, really. But I’m looking at my ceramic mug, with its green, blue and orange circles surrounding the glass and notice how bright the colors bounce off the silver clouds that float through the window.
It’s funny, this whole experience. How in a week, so much has changed. How literally overnight, we went from stalking the moon and ignoring each other to stepping into a dance of discovery. How, as I handed you your coffee, my hands shook and heart hammered so violently beneath my ribs, and how your unexpected visit brought so many unspoken questions and open-ended answers to the surface.
And the night when it was cold and we were filled with God’s goodness and sat in the basement in the low lamplight, when you played bits and pieces of songs on the guitar and I guessed their names. Where I wrote to the melodies, scratched my pen across the paper and let myself, for once in my blank, uninspired life, open to beauty and let my blood rush through my veins. I awoke to the music, to the way you made sounds come alive. Late, into the early morning hours, I was like a midnight rose, blooming and revealing the colored petals I’ve kept clasped tightly in a bud. And you, with your arrogant charm and disarming grin, wrapped around my heart, a climbing ivy sliding to ensnare. The rain dropped down as we walked to our cars, trapping us in a maze we navigated in the black ink of darkness.
Maybe that’s why I’m remembering you now, the peals of showers gracing the ground reminding me how I fought so hard inside, battling between head and heart. I thought your absence would dim my mind, out of mind out of sight sort of thing. But I am acutely aware of the distance between us. And right now, as the chill in the room dulls my coffee, I know that you are somewhere in Chicago, breathing through neighborhoods that will strangle a man if given the chance. It’s not so bad when I’m occupied throughout the day, but when I am alone in my room as the sun settles on the other side of the world and that moon, that same moon we danced around when the blinders were lifted from our eyes, rises through my remembrance, I imagine you in a hotel room bleached white and fragranced with lemon carpet cleaner. I see you, sitting on the edge of the bed, fingering the Bible left in the drawer by the Gideon soldiers, surviving another day. But the hole in my heart doesn’t fill, because a part of it, cheesy as it sounds, was taken along for the ride and lingers in the linen that pulls you to another fitful slumber. If I could combine your tossing and turning with the hours I lay in bed, thoughts tormenting my mind, I bet we could pull out a full night’s sleep.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. All I’ll say is that the sun is trying to peek through the sky and I don’t want to welcome it out. I want to take my hands and push it back behind the clouds and settle into my melancholy, finishing off my coffee that has now turned room temperature. And I want the time to fly, as backwards as it seems to lead, so I can sit on the couch and see you enter the room with your swagger that first turned me off but now has captured me completely. I might be terrified to want so much, but I’d rather have you here to teach me that the fire I feel is like a controlled burn in a National Park, slippery and capable of growing out of hand at the slightest rush of wind through bending limbs.
I need to get to the bank, so I down the rest of my cup and turn up Adele, who is singing to me through the speakers. I think she knows exactly what I’m going through and wants me to not feel as alone right now, kind of a chaperone to keep my thoughts from slipping too far. I’m going to make this a good day. I’m going to go for a run and set up some appointments for work. And I’m going to try not to think of the fact that a few hundred miles south, you are stepping around cracks on the sidewalk and crack heads on the stoops, sharpening your skin and counting down the days until you can return, and we’ll sit once more in the deep of night, drinking java and weaving ideas through the embers of our glowing hearts, no longer timid of the power they possess.