On Tuesday, at 10 AM, my girlfriend of over two years left the house for Ireland. Two weeks will have passed when I next see her again, and contact in general will be limited during that time. It occurs to me, as I type this, that in the two years and three months (nearly to the day) for which we've known each other, we've never once been apart for more than four or five days. With the last four days behind me stretching out like an endless desert of the mind, I find it difficult to fathom the distance of the next week and a half — as difficult as trying to remember what my life was like before I was with her.
What we are has never been a firework shooting across the night sky; it's never been bright or flashy or eye-catching. I've never wanted to stand on a mountaintop and proclaim the depths of my passion to any God bored enough to listen. The closest thing I can compare it to is the feeling of putting on a pair of pants that have just come out of the dryer — warm, comforting, comfortable. Ours has ever been gently luminous, our soft, quiet glow a sharp counterpoint to my other relationships' sparking, crackling phosphorescence. It's no starburst, but bright lights invariably hurt to look directly at, and one thing of which I'm ever mindful is that nothing about us save this recent absence has ever been painful. But I can't even describe the vulnerability I feel when I look at her. My armor is dust, my fortifications so much scrap metal. She could crush me with a sentence, murder me with a word. But she never has. She's never even really been unkind, never said anything in anger that needed to be taken back later. She's never given me the slightest reason to be afraid.
Yet I'm nothing if not fearful. For two years, the same thought has flitted through my barely-conscious mind just before I fall asleep. It's a small, terrifying thought, scurrying out of the dark corners of my sub-conscious to haunt me in the most defenseless of moments. Every single night, without fail, it whispers the same poison into my brain:
"What if she doesn't love you in the morning?"
My experience has taught me that's how life works; one day, every woman I've ever fallen for has woken up and decided she didn't love me any more. Not that I can blame any of them — I'm hardly a prize. But it hasn't happened yet with her. I can't count the number of times I've wondered (though never aloud, as if speaking the superstition will breathe life into it) if I dreamed up the last two years. I couldn't even begin to deserve her, and I never will. I hope with every fiber of my being that she never figures that out.
I've been trying to write this for days. Words have always been my one gift, but with her, I feel like an ant trying to describe the curvature of the Earth. It's too enormous, too all-encompassing, like someone trying to see the shape of England while standing in Trafalgar Square. How can I talk about how she makes me feel, when I can barely begin to fathom it myself? But I try, because I have to tell someone why I feel worse right now than I think I have in two years.