Especially at night, when Riley and I are cuddled in bed and the air conditioning is flowing through the room. It feels like a hot August night, and he’ll be home from work any minute. Maybe he’ll text me, tell me some cute anecdote about his coworkers at the bar, tell me that he misses me, or ask how the baby’s doing. Maybe he’ll call on his cigarette break and let me know that he loves me. But the pay off – seeing him, holding him, cuddling in bed with him and Riley – that’s just not gonna happen. Not for a long, long time.
And it’s so hard, the separation. It’s hard knowing that there were other options, and this one was the one he wanted. It’s hard to distinguish the facts from symptoms of my paranoia. Maybe a dollar does stretch out longer here, but maybe he also didn’t want me around. Maybe he does want to take care of us financially, but maybe he also wants time to be a single, unattached guy.
No, no. I’m just being paranoid. The tears he cries when talking about how much he misses us – those are real. The emails he writes that elicit tears from my eyes, the longing in his voice and on his face when we have a Skype date, the ambivalence in his gestures – those are all real. Just like me, he didn’t know how much being apart would hurt. Just like me, he thought it would be easy. Just like me, a part of him really does think this is the best option for us all.
Too many times, in too many places, tears sting my eyes. I see a billboard that we would’ve laughed about, or run into a doppelganger of one of our friends, or have a hard day, and he’s not there to laugh with or talk to or kiss away my tears. Don’t get me wrong – telephones, the internet, Skype, they all offer tremendous assistance. But there simply is no substitute for having him in front of me.