I’ve been reading up on comfort and chaos. I like missing you.
May 1, 2023
This piece is part of the Love Letters notebook, which features art by Ali El-Chaer.
I’m kneeling over the cat. I ask, “Can I help?” and you say, “No—put some music on.”
No AC. I queue up all of Frank’s albums. The kitchen warms the apartment, and I lie down on the cool wood of the floor, next to the cat. We’re both still sleepy, drowsy from the humid air. I ask, “How’s your day?” and you answer from the other room, “Just like every other.”
I say, “I was talking to the cat” because I want to hear you laugh.
I rub his ears between my thumbs, and I think about your face between my palms just earlier that day. Is it true that we begin to resemble what we love? I talk like you sometimes. “Hey, how’s it going?” I can say in your voice. You know the face I make when I want a kiss? You make that face sometimes too.
What a relief. What a gift to live this day again—the sweat of your neck above the stove, the curve of your shoulder in the afternoon light. Fried rice for lunch and you’re showing me a trick to make the eggs just right. I like when you cook without a shirt on. I say, “Are you sure that’s safe?” but what I mean is, “You are so, so lovely.”
We could live this day a hundred times. Two coffees left unfinished by the sink. A window for us to look through and say, “Look outside.” The rain has already stopped.
The snow is starting. “I can’t believe the sky is keeping me from you,” I text.
You send me back a Simpson meme. I laugh.
We ate breakfast, then parted ways, the way lovers do, with promises of “Maybe I’ll see you later?” and “Don’t miss me too much.”
I always do. I’m wearing two sweaters and going nowhere. Your shirt, newly washed and neatly folded, is waiting by the door. I keep forgetting to give it back. Your toothbrush is sitting next to mine by the bathroom sink. I turn off my computer—who can work in a blizzard—and sit by the windowsill. I think of you sitting by the windowsill at the diner, the slope of the morning light across your hands.
Recently, I tried to write a poem that started with, When it snows / the whole world is in love. Sometimes I confuse love with silence. Stillness. I’ve been reading up on comfort and chaos. I like missing you. I like watching the sky kiss the ground and thinking about how if you were here, you’d be telling me some obscure fact about how long it takes a snowflake to fall or how snow isn’t white. It’s silly. Even my loneliness is lovely now. In the poem I leave unfinished, I write, I am never lonely / just lost.
When the snow stops and the world goes on, I will already be on my way to you.