My missing you is not bound within my body. It trails behind me when I wander crowded streets, brushing itself against strangers. It sits with me while I eat dinner alone with a view no one should eat alone at. And I enjoy it for that very reason. The boats here are colored like a theme park, and I’m embarrassed by how often my reference points are places like Disneyland or a text-book from my undergrad.
I get my bearings in a new place by wandering the streets in circles, passing over the same storefronts several times in one evening. I like to watch the way it changes, late afternoon through sundown. How the smells are richer and everything gets lit up and glossed over. Here the streets smell like barbecue and there are considerably less motors running. It’s quite and there isn’t much going on but that is exactly what I was looking for. I am thinking about going to a new island in the next day or so, one where I can walk the entire place in half a day. One where I’ll be forced to do less than the less I am already doing.
In the mornings I miss you.
I was talking to someone recently and could see my life split in two, how quickly we get on board with the unexpected. And I imagined different coffee shops and concerts and wine in a living room I’ve never seen before. How do we ever get anywhere with ourselves?
I look happy in those photographs you sent me. It’s fascinating to see someone see you. Or better yet it is more accurate to say, how someone once saw you. And in them I am always seeing you, and it’s like everything we were saying back then is suspended in those pictures. And all I can think is how happy I was and how grateful I am to have been there at all. I tell you those were some good years. Those were some good years.
When I’m finished with dinner I walk back the four blocks to the small room where I am staying and tonight I have air conditioning tonight, and the little luxury makes me feel like a queen because I get to sleep under the covers. We stretch and sometimes diminish our standards so the slightest improvements feel like a grace. That was how I lived for a long time.