Twenty Days Apart

We walked toward the terminal. A slow meander. Stopping and looking at all the little shops on the way to the station. Random organic tote bags, sunglasses and pretty little charms lining the outside of the shops permanently brand that walk for me. Every small detail I picked up, forever embellished in my memory. We collected your tickets from one of those automated machines. You were sweating a bit under the surprisingly warm spring sun and I could feel it in the palms of our clasped hands. You shifted your arm up to my waist and pulled me closer. And every heartbeat, every step and every intake of breath and exhale of worry was a step closer to your leaving. 20 days. And then you’re back. 

Finally, the terminal gates. And you turned to look at me, no longer caring like you usually do about people watching. Your hands slid up my body, caressing every small detail we’d so finely burned into our retinas the night before, they reached my jaw and there they rested. Holding me, stroking my tired stubble. Your eyes, that deep hazel, and mine an emerald green, locked. And there it was: that twinkle that I had talked about ever since our first date. And you kissed me. So much was in that kiss. It neither lasted long enough, or finished. To be continued, you said, when you were back. 

As you rustled in your bag for something, the entirely-too-happy-for-this-moment terminal speaker sounded and announced that your train was pulling into the station. I was panicking, tripping over my words; this wasn’t enough time to say goodbye- I should have started on the way here. I have so much to say, no time to say it, and am loaded with feelings that are entirely too strong for you. You pull me into you. It’ll be quick, it’ll be over soon, I’ll call you, I’ll message you, don’t worry. Sweet nothings that meant nothing when soon you were about to board a train to take you thousands of miles away from me. Out of my reach, away from the safety of my arms. Our tiny university dorm room. Us. 

You went back to your bag. Removed your battered, author-signed, favourite book. Complete with all the little post-it notes that you’d stuck in there, marking your favourite quotes. Take care of it. It’s a part of me. Whilst I am in Rome, and you are here, I know that as long as you have this book, part of us is together. 

***

Every time I come across one of your delicately cut up post-it notes, it’s like you are reading the quote to me. Reminding me that you are over my shoulder as I read. Watching me, guiding me. Eyeing my reactions nervously as you hope I enjoyed every word as much as you had. My back to your chest, holding my hand, turning the page for me, reading a long with me. Omnipresent. Eternal. By my side.  

My dear whilst you are away, and I am here, I am not a whole. For I am a half. Part one to part two. The beginning, you the end.  Come back to me safe, make me complete again. 

I miss you. TC Mark

image – Look Catalog

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