The Long-Distance Relationship

People always ask how we do it.

To me, it's easy. If you love the person and you trust them, the time in between doesn't matter, only the time you spend with them.

"It isn't that hard." I say confidently.

What is hard though, is when you come home from seeing them off.

When you come into your room that still smells like them, and you see little shadows of where they've been in your house, like the way they placed a certain object before they left, or the towel they'd been using after they showered.

The food you bought together that you have to finish alone.

Their scent on the pillows.

Those faint little shadows that they leave behind, the ones you cling to up until you're on your way to see them again to make more memories.

You let the smell of them fill you up, just in case you forget how they smell. You hold them like you'll never feel them again and those hours that you while away with them always go so fast. Before you know it, you're on your way home again, with your nose buried in the sleeve of your jacket, so that you can inhale them and feel their warmth around you, even though you're speeding away from them for another week, another month, another year.

Coming home to an empty house or bedroom where they were only an hour before is the worst. If you hadn't woken them up, they'd still be here. If you'd held them longer, they'd still be here. You always get that maddening desire to stop them -- to jump on the train with them and beg them to stay, to get into their car and plead that they don't leave, or to run into their arms at the airport and cry to them to stay with you, just one more day...

Just one more day.

At night, you wrap yourself up in the covers that, until this morning, embraced the two of you. You can still smell them all around you as you press your face into their pillow. When? You ask yourself in those small hours, as tears of loneliness and desperation cling to your eyelashes, When will they come? When will saying goodbye be a thing of the past? When will you be able to fall asleep beside them and wake up to them? Without dreading their next departure?

The ache you feel when they aren't there doesn't go away. Only when you're with them does it subside. Only to return again when the whispered goodbyes are uttered. The ache returns as you wipe away the tears. You can still see them, but you already miss them. You're still holding them, but your heart aches for them to never let you go.

To feel them brush against you in the early morning before they get up. You reach over just to feel them, just to know they're there, within arms reach. And when you're alone, the habit sticks. But instead of feeling warm, soft skin, your palm meets the cold bed, devoid of them.

You work your way through your days, counting down until you meet again, but they are constantly on your mind. As you work, play and sleep, they are there. Hanging onto your thoughts, visiting you in your dreams.

People always ask how we do it.

"It is hard, but we work hard at it." I say confidently.

Because it's always worth it.