Since their first four hour phone conversation it had been exactly 3 years and one month. During that time they had ups and downs, learning to see one another, learning how to love in ways neither had experienced before.
Maturing. Not infatuation any longer. More intimate than physical alone. Fun and satisfying on a level deeper than either had experienced.
Tonight He was alone at his apartment 100 miles away from Her. The plan was they would not see each other again until the music festival on September 15 – a full 20 days after they had last held each other in bed.
Life had changed, become somewhat complicated, for both of them. Her brother, sister-in-law and three dogs had moved in. He had taken that “career job” He had put off for so long.
Tonight, after a couple playful texts from Her, He longed. He longed for the smell of Her, Her ample hair pushed against His face as He held Her in bed. The softness of her body against Him. The mischievous smile She seemed to have at the slightest provocation.
He knew She missed as well. The foot massage followed by the playful tickles. The safety She felt in His arms each night. Him crawling back into bed with Her just before Her alarm and holding Her as she went through the 30 minute ritual of waking.
Sometimes, like tonight, the distance seemed hard. He thought of her and pulled a pillow to His chest and hoped to dream of Her.
It was past his bedtime, an hour past. He couldn’t sleep. His chest ached for want of Her.
They had made a considered decision: His business was flagging and needed Him to make it a priority. He would spend less time with Her and more focusing on His business. They knew it meant the weeks of living together would be put on pause, but in the long run it would mean He could move to Her city.
They had now been apart for most of a month.
Tonight He longed for Her. He longed for Her in a way that transcended sex. For the last couple weeks porn had lost any appeal. He didn’t want sex, He wanted Her. All of Her. The intimacy. Making love. The holding after. Waking up together the next day. The Knowing.
Tonight the emptiness of His arms screamed loud.
He pulled a pillow into His chest and willed it to become Her.
They were to be apart for most of three weeks. She had company, then a conference, then a retreat. He left Tuesday morning.
He wanted Her to know He didn’t miss her….
When He closed the browser and saw Her picture as His wallpaper…
When the phone dinged a text and He saw it wasn’t Her…
When He woke in the early morning to His empty bed…
When He tried to write but only wanted His Muse…
He didn’t miss feeling Her in his arms, Her warmth, Her eyes, Her kiss or the way Her skin felt as He traced Her lines with His finger. He didn’t miss Her sleeping next to Him while He read, His hand on the small of her back. He didn’t miss waking up with Her, sitting across from Her, sharing conversation and coffee.
No, He didn’t miss Her at all.
When He got the text at 8:30pm it surprised him. Not the text itself, but the question mark. They often texted “LYGN” before bed – shorthand for “Love You, Good Night”. He checked his phone and realized He missed Her first LYGN sent a half-hour before.
He replied telling Her He loved her, and to sleep well. These coded snippets meant a great deal to him. They would be apart for over two weeks and being tucked in by Her was warmth and joy.
It started October 7, 2014.
She had been trying to figure out this “dating” thing after a couple decades of marriage. He had already figured it out, though He hadn’t experienced anyone like Her.
They had been talking and texting for just over two months, but had not met in person. He was already falling for her. She was smitten, but still thought He had a hidden agenda.
Each night they got on the phone and talked for hours. Their talks were warm and intimate. They both looked forward to them and didn’t want them to end.
“We need to have a way to say ‘goodbye'” She told Him.
It was too early for love, but they both felt…something…and expressing that something in words was hard. So that Tuesday night in October, when they had hung up after a long conversation in the tiny hours of the morning, She texted him: “LYB” – “Love You, Bye”.
Many months later now they would tell each openly “I love you“, but they still used the shorthand she invented most nights by text.
And each time She did, it made His heart sing.
He smoked his first of the day on the balcony. It was cold. 7 degrees. The crisp sky was filled with stars and a passing plane.
He woke missing Her today, missing Her body. Hungry. Today marked seven days since He had felt Her next to Him. She had been attentive, calling and texting. Affirming. But calls and texts couldn’t replace tracing Her lines with His finger, feeling Her softness in His arms, the intimacy of two becoming one.
If He were there, He would wake Her gently. She would be on Her side, Her back to His chest. His right arm beneath Her head, hand cradling Her breast. His left would run the length of Her body.
Eventually, She would begin to wake. Moving against Him. His fingers exploring, dancing on favorite places. Her breath quickening. Her body moving rhythmically. His thrusts meeting Hers. Her moans becoming louder, more urgent, until…
After, He would hold Her, safe under covers and filling His arms. The Best Part.
As He finished his cigarette, He looked forward to the weekend.