Sometimes the longing is so intense that I feel like I can't breathe.
My chest feels like it won’t expand as much as I know it should, and all I want is to have enough air to exhale steadily without shaking. And even though the room and my apartment and the very fabric of the world is full of oxygen, it just doesn’t seem to be enough. It’s in those moments that I realize—it’s not air that my lungs are screaming for. It’s you.
My hole. It’s what I’ve come to call the empty feeling in the center of my belly that seems to come out of nowhere at the most inopportune of times. I’ll be in the middle of writing an email, or sitting on the train on my way home from work and I’ll feel it open up inside me.
Sometimes it’s sudden, like I’m a thin sheet of paper being shoved into a hole-puncher and I want to double over from the pain of missing you.
At other times it happens slowly, like a blooming flower in one of those time-lapse videos, except my time away from you isn’t lapsing at all.
It’s almost like your physical absence becomes a part of me and I feel it in the same way amputees feel their missing limbs.
I guess that’s why we use the same word to describe something that’s lost, and how we feel about someone who’s gone.
I’m pissed off and fucking mad as hell. At you. At your job. At the fact that you left me here. Sometimes I can only feel that part of it—the leaving—and all logic goes out the window. Tonight is one of those times. I want to punch something. I want to punch you. But I also just want you to say that it will be ok. Because right now, it doesn’t feel like it ever will be.
That tight feeling in the pit of my stomach that comes out of nowhere. It’s the first time all week I’ve been able to sit still, and it’s like my body was waiting for a quiet moment to let the weight of your absence settle.
I saw your hair on my towel and almost immediately my stomach twisted.
Your hair is here, but you are not.
That was all I could think for a solid five minutes, and the thought keeps creeping back in when I least expect it, stirring a longing in me that I’m struggling and failing to keep quiet.
Why does the hair get to stay while the rest of you has to go? Why leave such an insubstantial but brutally heartbreaking part of yourself behind?
Your hair is here, but you are not.
And its one of those nights where that simple fact alone is too much to take.
I just found out that one of my friends cheated on her long-time boyfriend. I’m not judging her for what she did. To be frank, cheating actually fascinates me because I honestly don’t think it would be physically possible for me to cheat. I don’t understand how you can love someone but do those intimate, special things with someone else.
Distance is hard. Really hard. But I never think about anyone else the way I think about you, not even for a second. It doesn’t matter that they are inches away while you’re miles away. No one else could ever be you.
When I fall, I fall hard. I love quickly and completely and when I’m taken my heart is too full of that person to ever do anything that I know would cause them pain. And I couldn’t betray anyone like that. Especially not you.
My chest feels tight, and I can’t breathe easily, no matter how hard I try.
The silent and invisible weight of your absence is crushing me.
It’s at once completely abstract and entirely palpable. The coldness that spreads over my arms and legs, the dull ache in the pit of my stomach, the tension in my shoulders, the trembling in my hands.
The anger is so hot that it burns and the sadness is so sudden that it frightens me.
I don’t know what to do with everything I’m feeling. I have all these feelings and I don’t know where to put them or how to get rid of them, or even how to feel them all at once.
I want to cry and scream and throw things. But I have to go to work and sit at my desk. I have to go to grocery stores and shop like a normal human. I have to talk to people and ride trains and read books and listen to music like nothing’s wrong. I even have to laugh.
I thought that I knew what being heartsick felt like, but this is something bigger, harder, and much scarier than whatever idea I had imagined. I want it gone and I want you here, but I don’t get what I want.
And I wonder how much of it is mental. I eat when I’m lonely. I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m tired or bored or cranky, and I can’t remember a time recently where I haven’t felt hungry. I’ve always loved food, but this feels different. This feels like I’m eating for all the wrong reasons, and in my mind I know no amount of food will fill the hole you left, when you left. But I still snack constantly. I eat and eat and I don’t feel full. I eat and eat and you’re still not here.
And I think that if I can learn to focus more on enjoying the time I have to myself and less on the absences I feel, I’ll be a much happier, much more productive person. Because if I’m honest, this is probably the last time in my life when I’ll be able to have uninterrupted ”me-time” on the daily basis. So I shouldn’t take it for granted.
Especially without you here to keep me warm. So I sleep under piles of blankets. I cover myself with comforters and hope for comfort that doesn’t come. I write in footie pajamas and cook in your sweatshirts. I curl into a tiny ball with my knees near my heart whenever I’m given the chance, and I wish in vain for your warm hands.
And when I must leave my apartment (for work, for life), I dress in layers. I pull hats and hoods over my head and wrap scarves around my neck and shoulders. I plow through the snow with no one to hold my mittened hand, blasting my iPod as high as it will go, and I wonder what the weather’s like where you are.
I feel myself complaining. I hear it. And we both know I write it down and reread it. And in the brief moments of clarity I have, I realize—I’m a horrible human being. I’m reminded of the Louis CK interview where he talks about how everything is amazing and no one is happy and I feel like the biggest douche on earth. I have an amazing family. A great apartment. My dream job, and you (an awesome, loyal, and quite frankly fucking adorable boyfriend), and I’m complaining about the fact that you just happen to live in a different state temporarily? I know I have a right to my feelings, and I recognize that distance is hard (obviously), but I also just feel totally ridiculous sometimes for allowing myself to get so upset about the ONLY part of my life that isn’t going exactly according to plan. I mean, what does that say about me?
Writing it down instead of only thinking it. I’m sure there will still be plenty of nights when it won’t help. When I’ll get overwhelmed and bogged down with thoughts and feelings that nothing can cure except a good hard cry (or maybe you coming back to me immediately). But tonight, this is really, genuinely helping.