It’s 4 in the morning. My body doesn’t feel like mine anymore. I’ve been up that long, trying to make the most out of every last minute I have with you, since I won’t see you for a few months.
We leave for the airport at the last minute. I’m taking the red eye back home. Traveling alone, clutching the stuffed animal you gave me. A talking cat with eyes so large that you could fit another stuffed animal into one if they were hollowed out like cubbies.
I laugh a little at the thought. You glance over at me, and I can see your concern. Your own eyes are red. You’re on the verge of tears. And you’re wondering why I’m laughing.
“I’m so tired that I’m having super random thoughts. You know how that goes,” I say.
“I do,” you say.
“I’ve decided that chibi eye cubbies would make a good home for Beanie Babies, basically.”
You laugh. “If you don’t stop saying things like that, I won’t be able to drop you at the airport.”
“You’ll have to commit me instead?”
“No,” you say, the joviality draining from your voice. “I’ll have to keep you.”
We both fall into silence. We know that can’t happen. That I have a job, responsibilities, other lovers, a life halfway across the country. But for a second I indulge the fantasy of being able to stay.
At the airport, you pull to the drop-off zone, to the curb. I open my door, clutching my one carry-on bag. No need to check anything. And even though freezing rain is pouring down, you shift into park, throw on your hazards, leap from the driver’s seat, bolt to my side of the car before I barely have a chance to get out myself. You catch me in your arms. Give me the most deep and intense kiss you’ve ever given me. It seems to last forever.
“I love you,” you say, holding my face in your hands. “No matter what happens, don’t forget it.”
I feel the aftereffects of that kiss for days — like contrails in the sky.
I can still imagine the sound of your voice as you hold me from behind. If I focus on the memory for too long, I feel goosebumps form on my neck. My shoulder blades blush.
It’s the way I cope with your absence. I get drunk on longing for you. Missing you becomes its own kind of drug.