Like Christmas morning. Like the 4-year-old me trying to fight sleep the night before just to catch a glimpse of Santa. Like waking up at 7am running to the tree to see the presents underneath. Like opening that first gift, tearing off my mother’s intricately folded wrapping without a care. Like feeling so so incredibly happy. This is what it feels like to be with you.
Like meeting someone new. Like cold hands warming up from a cup of morning coffee. Like having to take an old wintry blanket from the closet to snuggle up to while watching TV and waiting for it to match my body heat. This is what it feels like to be with you.
Like losing my virginity. No, wait, more like having sex for the second time. Like trying something relatively new, something secret, something dangerous, something exciting, something steamy, something hot, something sexy. This is what it feels like to be with you.
Like the moment right before I fall asleep: my body warm, comfortable and completely at peace. Like a soft goodnight kiss. Like a gentle hug goodbye. This is what it feels like to be with you.
Like not understanding why I failed my first paper in freshman year. Like talking to my professor for the first time and pretending to understand her, even though I really just didn’t get it. Like thinking I’ll do better next time, because there’s always a second chance, and I do, I do, I do; I fix this all for her and for you. This is what it feels like to be with you.
Like being a rebellious teen: dying my hair, putting on more makeup, changing my style just for some sort of attention or recognition, none of which I get. Like being a fucked-up 20-something, drinking, partying, screaming, fighting, crying, pleading, begging. I change myself, until I begin to hate myself, until I begin to hate who I become when I am with you.
Like fighting with my brother. Like arguing and hurting each other the best way we know how. Like walking back to him to apologize, to forgive, to love, because I love him. This is what it feels like to be with you.
Like fighting with my mother, even worse than with my brother. Like yelling about things I don’t even know about, like trying to understand, but not really trying at all. Like breaking her heart, her precious fragile heart, and hearing her suddenly quiet, hushed by my piercing daggers of words. Like bending my head low and giving in my pride, because I love her. This is what it feels like to be with you.
Like fighting with my father, even worse than with my mother. Like feeling broken and hurt and dead inside. Like feeling betrayed by the one person I should be able to trust. Like being put down by the person I put up on a pedestal to be admired, not just by me, but everyone around me. This is what it feels like to be with you.
Like waiting for the community shuttle, that always-late-and-unreliable piece-of-shit-of-a-bus. Like waiting and waiting and waiting, and like the bus not coming and not coming and not coming. Like feeling forgotten, even though I am not the most important person to pick up and I shouldn’t be, but why the fuck can’t I be? Like feeling unloved, unwanted and most of all, unneeded. I feel under-appreciated, overlooked and taken for granted. This is what it feels like to be with you.
Like feeling vengeful and vindictive. Like wanting to hurt you back for hurting me. This is what it feels like to be with you.
Like feeling depressed. Like feeling so utterly drained and being bled dry, so much so that I can’t even think of a simile more creative than “like feeling depressed”. It’s hopeless. This is hopeless. This is what it feels like to be with you.
And I imagine, when the day comes, that I summon the courage to just end this self-pity and self-inflicted pain, I imagine, it will feel like Christmas Eve, when what we’ve been waiting for, singing about since twelve days prior, will finally come. And whether we want it to or not, that day will edge its way into our lives, warm up to us and overcome us. There, perhaps I’ll know what it will feel like to be without you.