so. last night i broke up with my live-in partner. we have been friends for over six years and partners for nearly three years. we got into an argument. he had stopped speaking or engaging with me at all about halfway through the argument, and i had stomped away but then came back. i laid down in the hammock with him and we laid there, in silence, for hours. wrapped up in each others bodies, despite the sticky heat and humidity. in the darkness we stared into each others’ eyes. he traced the contours of my face with his hand and i could tell that he was memorizing me. i could tell that he was planning on no longer having me there, an arm’s length away, a face to touch, as familiar as your own face, almost–
and at one point i squeezed my eyes shut tight, i’m sure it looked like i was holding back tears or trying to disengage from the situation. instead i was thinking about my first night in europe, in may. i was on an uncomfortable bunk on a 6-person sleeper car, heading to berlin from paris. i hadn’t slept in over 36 hours at that point but i still couldn’t sleep. i missed my sweetheart and i was acutely aware of how many thousands of miles away he was. i concentrated on the exact feeling of being in his arms, the contentment and safety, and i was able to re-create it, that exact feeling, so far away, and drifted off to sleep, happily. when i came home, that feeling was nowhere to be found. i worried that i’d left it somewhere in europe. and last night, i was concentrating on sucking it back, across the ocean, across the void. i was trying to get it back to pittsburgh, where it should be. my face scrunched, doing everything i could to remember that feeling, how i felt in his arms the night before i left. but i just couldn’t do it. i couldn’t undo it. i couldn’t bring it back.
a while later, i could hear the train whistle blowing. we live not too far from a freight train yard, and i remember at the beginning, when he was still in maryland, 250 miles away, we would talk on the phone all night. he would hear a train whistle blowing and then i’d hear one about two hours later and we’d pretend it was the same train, from his part of the country to mine. same train, same conversation. i thought about how on those phone conversations he seemed closer to me than he did right now, with my sweaty cheek on his clammy chest. i hoped that that train was bringing that feeling back. i hoped it would fly out of an open boxcar and float over us, insert itself into our bones, make his hug more sinewy & safe. but i knew it wouldn’t.