When You Long For A Place That No Longer Exists

When You Long For A Place That No Longer Exists
Max Okhrimenko

I miss you and I wish I could call you, tell you I want you here. I want to hear your voice crackle over speakerphone in the dark and as we speak I would imagine it flying through the airwaves. I picture space; put my hand in front of my face and pretend to trace the stars.

I don’t know when time became so important to me; when it became the focal point of everything I do, anything I want to do. There never seems to be enough of it. Or what there is, is never enough. I am either rushing or waiting. Rushing or waiting.

If I didn’t have to wait to save up money, wait to be done with school, wait to take time off of work, I’d leave in the morning. Spend all night packing a bag and fill my car up with gas. The trunk would be packed with hiking boots and a tent; I would pack snacks and forget to charge my camera.

I’ve never been good at reading a compass or following directions, but I can follow my gut west, toward the coyote and the cacti. The mountains and the cities that are unfamiliar, but whose names sound like home before they ever leave my mouth. When I talk about these places it comes out as a whisper, like a secret. If I say anything too loud, it might disappear, get erased from the map before I make it there, never exist in actuality and only in a made-up globe-fueled dream-world I created for myself.

I remember telling you once that I wanted to live near the ocean, a beachfront home. You said you could never do it, that sharks scared you more than anything. You described teeth and blood, the salt water spray of the place that I so desperately wanted to be near as your biggest fear. You would rather live deep in a forest. I told you I was scared of bears, scared of the woods, scared of the dark.

I wonder when it changed. I wonder when “anywhere” started sounding better than here. TC mark

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