What a difference there is between coming and going.
On the way there, you notice the beauty of flying at night. Out the window the floor is strewn with tiny Christmas lights, endless, with an inky streak of black above. Even higher, you watch as stars breathe into the open sky, so close you could almost swallow them down.
The flight home, though, is different. The sky is flat and gray, heavy with humidity. Takeoff is a dull pull, your body literally tugged between ground and sky. Sky wins, and every second becomes a reminder of being taken further and further away.
You rise into haze, remembering the feel of his body, so present, so solid, the electric hum of a cat purring by your head. You remember things he said into your hair as he touched you. You remember never wanting to move from that place.
Hard to believe that only hours could put such distance between you. It's painful to think about; it's mean.
You still have bits of it with you...a camera filled with pictures, the smell of his home tucked into the clothes in your suitcase, the feel of his sheets on your skin.
But it isn't enough.
You curse the patchwork of ground below you, brown and ordinary, a tangible reminder of the space between you.
You'll get home, it will be freezing. You'll turn on the heat and talk to him on the computer until your eyes are glazed. You'll be grateful that it's 2009 and that you can communicate that way, but still, it isn't the same. It isn't his fingers slipped inside the top of your jeans, it isn't you stepping into his embrace, his arms closing around you like safety, like home. You can't smell his freshly scrubbed skin or his mouth. You can't feel his fingers wrapped tightly around yours.
So you comfort yourself with hope. With thoughts of a future. Of a time when a morning alarm simply means getting up for work, parting for the day instead of for weeks at a time.
You ease back into your days without him. And it starts to feel less like an open sore. You tell yourself that this is temporary.
It's just a matter of time.
That some day soon you'll be able to stop having to say goodbye.
4 days ago