I wake when you sleep. In the tradition of so many lovers, I’m romanticising imagined steps in hazy places, snoozing and letting pain grip me tighter. I’m letting you ruin every day.
In the lineage of heartache, my place is more solid than ever. I lost you in January but for real in February when you jumped continents and I didn’t know until I was kept awake. I clock you in at around 6 pm. I noticed it first when the evening fatigue held off. I ate dinner like a coffee-fuelled breakfast, lay restless in the bathtub or raced through showers as if I had somewhere to be. The day itched to begin as I got into bed; I wondered about cereal, American petrol stations, apartment layouts, the day's weather and you.
I toss and turn differently. I used to know the seasons by how close to you I could get. I’d know things were bleak when I put material between my skin and yours; that’s when you know winter is really here or climate change really has its hooks in. When it snowed again in April, we padded any gaps with t-shirts or those snakeskin silky bottoms. I felt them fray with time. By this November I couldn’t stand the bobbling and you turned over more anyway. It’s March and I’m hot and cold. I climb into the freezing expanse of my bed, each night it's bigger. I watch thankless, fruitless TV. I repeat mantras until I feel okay enough to close my eyes. I think of you, I touch myself, I’m sweltering, I’m awake. I hope the restlessness is down to you. I want to be your puppet. Afternoon delight by 11 pm – keep me up. I feel my hand stroke my pillow; I never did that before.
The other day I dreamed so vividly I could tell you about it now, reciting the plot like reading a script. You know how long I’ve been wanting that feeling back. The waiting, the nothing, the lack of you is like pins and needles and I want to message you and say thank you, but by the time I’m awake – jumping up out of bed for the remaining seconds we could be conscious at the same time – I know realistically you’re already resting. You always liked an early night.
I want to see everything you’ve bought without me, feel the materials of the clothes that hug your body now, imbue them with me, joke about our shared closet again. I’ve been wearing the red jumper more and I wish everyone in the world knew you wore it too. I want my body to scream you wore me too, hand in hand like a glove, two identities woven like fabric – it’s a horrific simile but how else do you say it? Maybe I want the world to know I was owned by you. I need everyone to know I was yours and still think of me that way because I do. I want to tell you about my new pasta recipe, how I learned to like anchovies, let you try it. I want you to know my new perfume. I want to watch the same shows at the same time again, text “1, 2, 3, play” from different countries and discuss – we’d be doing that right now if we hadn’t –
I really want to know what you’ve been cooking for dinner. Which is to say I miss you
and it’s never once crossed my mind to not love you.