Women who inspire are everywhere. In the Story Sessions community, I have met several of these women who speak truth, hope, light, and life. Today, my story sister, Anna, writes about pressing in to life when you are missing the one you love. I am grateful to know her though we’ve never met, one day we shall, she is my writing sister. I know her words will be a comfort to you.
When he’s missing me unconsciously, he reaches out for me in his sleep. But, I am not there. I am not within arm’s reach; I’m not even in the same hemisphere. He comes home to a dark and empty house. He comes home to a clean kitchen. He comes home to things undisturbed and unchanged.
He packs his own lunch, and makes his own breakfast. It is the same as before, but is different from when I’m there. He rations out the last of the soup, and the banana bread I made for him before I flew away.
I wish I had flown away like a bird flies south to warmer climes for the winter months. I wish it were for our comfort. There was snow on the ground when I left him. I came back to sunshine and waves and sweat drops running down the middle of my back. I came back to piles of boxes and a mishmash of books and clothes and art. I came back to a familiar life, but it didn’t feel like mine anymore. It wasn’t mine anymore.
When he’s missing me he sends me “how’s your day?” messages 3 or 4 times in the space of a few hours. We send each other photos of the places we go and the company we keep. We send each other links of articles, and ask random questions. We dream of each other, he more so.
The house is cooler without me. He doesn’t relish the knowledge that the house is cool to his liking, because it means I’m not there adding a couple of degrees to the heat, or toting around that little extra heater like a emphysema suffer totes around an oxygen bottle. He can find all his own clothes because i haven’t squirreled away one of his favourite sweaters to wear while cozied up on the couch.
We hold on, frustrated at the wait: Frustrated at the processes that keep us apart; ever aware that I am alien. We fumble our way to contentment. We fill our time with our own work, we distract ourselves with the mundane, and we concern ourselves with the sunsets and the sunrises.
Yet we press in to each other, and we press on. We learn how to roll to the middle when we are not sleeping under the same sheets. We learn how to love each other though we cannot touch each other’s hand or cheek. We learn how to read each other’s pixelated faces.
I search the documents and the supplements and the instructions wishing for another way, like a bloodhound searching out regulations and policies for hope. I mix up the prefixes in my head: G or I, 130, 485, 94, 745… We try to keep all the copies, and the forms together; this is the evidence that we “are in a bonafide marriage relationship.” If only they could take a photocopy of our hearts, of our how he misses me even when he is unconscious.
We get short with each other easily and in ways we never do when we are present next to one another. We battle with internet connections which seem to fail us right when we are talking about something important: It’s like the Murphy’s law of long distance relationships. We find ways to say I love you what seems like a hundred times a day, but what we really want – what we really need – is to feel the weight of the other in a hug and to feel the wetness of a kiss.
We talk of plans, of hopes, of dreams. We talk of the life we have together as if it is the same as the one we will have. But it isn’t. What we have now is but a shadow of what waking up next to each other everyday portends. We press in to each other and to God. He is our strongest link, the most tangible of intangibles. Our shared faith, our awareness of the grey of life, it is one of the loves that bind. Our philia, our Eros, our agape: the other loves that bind.
And when he misses me, I know that is love in all its painful glory.
Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. She makes a life out of loving words and helping them find their way home. She recently moved to Annablanch.net (from her online home of seven years, Goannatree) where she indulges in her particular combination of wanderlust (Not A Pedestrian Life) and relishing the quotidian of the home (Quotidian Home). You can connect with her on Facebook. More of her photography can be viewed here.