I Cannot Love You From A Distance

Natalie Allen
Natalie Allen

When everything coming out of the yard is green and brilliant and yellow, I start to consider how unfair love has been to me. How desperately I can wish to have you here. How possible it is for me to have been so unwilling to see that to love with such desperation is not the love I want to give you. It is hardly even love. It is fear.

And fear has never been enough to bring you to me or make you stay.

What can I say, long-distance is not for the faint of heart and yet I fall for it every time. I fall for men who become my world and then are missing from it. I fall into feeling all and nothing, back to back. Because even together, when your presence consumes me, I am only a thought away from you leaving. Leaving me. Again. This is not good for me.

It is not good for anyone who makes themselves a victim to absence, who chokes on distance, who is deprived of life when love feels like a million miles away, when desire so quickly morphs into anguish. To long for you has rarely been a beautiful surprise. It has been hideous and hysterical. It has been a woman’s face collapsing into tears. And yet it has flattered you. How backwards that that has relieved me also, that you do not feel my fear in the way that I kiss you, in the way that I beg in airports for you to choose me, for you to finally stay and call me—call us—home.

Long-distance is pathological for me and you, for people who must be finding some sort of pleasuring in feasting on their love and, in a breath, becoming so famished for it again, too. We will never satisfy each other. This morning there is gold in the sky and I wonder what more am I wanting. What more do I want than to talk over love while holding your hand. To be outdoors like this. Together, admiring life at its slowest hour. To look at you and be at peace.

Holding a pair of binoculars to your eyes and watching the birds spin-out into the sunrise. To see this and not want more from you. To see this and not feel the need to rush you, the need to have all of your attention. If only, we could start over. If only, I could love you right. If only, I wasn’t trying to love you now. I wish you could know me before the tears or rather after them all. I wish my desperation would have played out on another man.

I wish there was someone to teach me how to fear less and love greater.

You cannot teach me this. I mean, you could but you would not love me after. I wish you would love me after. Whenever I am with you, I spend most of our time thinking of how little time we have left. How I am always getting closer to when you will be gone. Maybe you can understand then how being with you is a painful process. Yet, I continue to want us together. I continue to test my limits, strain myself, put all my effort into making our long-distance work. Though I have no confidence that it will.

But oh yes, how I continue to hold my heart out to you with hope. How I continue to wait for time to carry us gently into the next phase, into a better love, where the light is bright on the grass and I appreciate everything. Like, the Cairns’ name tags chiming as they ponder, intrigued through the yard. Te breeze a rush through the palms, a rush through a cluster of bamboo. Their stalks creaking. Why am I the one who breaks so easily?

Right now I take hold of myself—of my mind—and stay sensitive to the smallest of things. To everyday noise streaming in from the hedges, the cars curving my street. A child squealing as the wheels of her bicycle spin ahead of her parents. Squealing and cheering and not caught up in her own effort. She believes it is magic. That magic is moving her forward, is leading her into the world. I remember those days. Alive to everything. Fearlessly present. Just a wildly beating heart untethered to form or outcome. The young are so good at this. They are all believers.

They believe anything can happen in a day. Everything can happen in a day. For all they know, today is all they have. What a wonderful way to receive life. They do not wander off with longing. They are not in their mind. They live for now. They love only what is here and today. What they can touch, what they can handle. Now is the only thing that can consume them. This. I wish I was still so blessed, so invested in myself alone. Unscarred by results. Untainted by the mirage. The mystique of love. The blurry boundary between fear and its opposite.

Right now I am aware of everything. I am aware of the joy that’s gone missing. The joy I am responsible for, which I hold myself back from. Our love is my issue. I know that. I know fear exists only on the inside. For the first time ever my honesty calms me. For the first time ever,

you are gone and I let it be. I let you be gone. I let myself be alone.

It helps to just sit here like this, to meet the world halfway. To wake up in the morning and sit outdoors, to sit and let the music come to me.

Let the birds sing themselves awake. Let the breeze shake the trees. Let the bamboo creak. The cars speed. The child squeal. When you are here I just do not do this. I try to control everything. Because I’m too afraid that I do not have you yet, that someday you’ll see how I do not trust in our love. Or, my love rather, that someday you’ll see that I do not trust in my own love. And this is my fault. This is for me to figure out.

I need time. More time like this.

More time realizing how painless it can be sitting here on my own, taking in the world just as it is for me now.

And though you are not here, maybe something else is. Maybe something is here already that is worth holding on to. And, maybe it is better for me. Maybe it is better that I am without you, that I have only this. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

A Breakup Coach, Advice Columnist, and the Podcast Host of Thank You Heartbreak.

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