It is now the way it's always been.
I step out of work, and I am already dialing your number. All the way home, until the moment I pull into the garage and know the connection will get patchy, I am talking to you. And then I come in the door, still finishing my sentence because it doesn't matter to us if our voices are bouncing off a satellite or bouncing off the refrigerator doors. What we did, what we read, what we thought. Every aggravating moment of the day we have spent apart is told as if, by telling, we can somehow import each other into those moments.
It's always been this way for us. Together, the upended world gains equilibrium. Apart, we still move through the world, but stiffly, awkwardly, as if the gravity's off.
I cannot say why we are drawn together like this, though I can list reason after reason that I should love you. You are brilliant, you are kind. You are genuine, you are forgiving. But none of those are why I love you.
I daresay it's more pragmatic than all that. We are simply carved from the same stone.
It's been this way since we met, nineteen years old and just friends, of course.
Perhaps it started those nights we tried to drop each other off only to sit in the car together, parked in the driveway, talking until the promise of the sun touched the horizon. One of us would begin to say goodnight, a hand reaching for the door, then the other would start another story and we would both settle in, crack the window, root around for one last cigarette. Funny to think we used to smoke cigarettes together, back before marriage and house and parenthood.
But once the sun started threatening its arrival, we would reluctantly say our goodbyes, looking pale in the watery, predawn glow. Then we would sneak home, exhausted and giddy and strangely peaceful at the same time. I remember being caught at the door by my father one morning and swearing solemnly, "We were only talking, daddy," knowing how much a manufactured excuse it sounded.
It was a slow revelation for us both that we were not just friends, if we told the real God's honest truth. It came sneaking up on us, me first and then finally you.
The night before we got married, I was so nervous. I stayed up packing and re-packing for the honeymoon, pacing, laying down in bed only to jump back up and pace some more. All the next day, I bit at my fake nails, checked the clock, pushed food around on my plate. Until it was time to walk down the aisle. And then, I felt awake and calm and just so ready to be next to you. My memories of our wedding are all of you, the way your tux felt and the way you looked at me and the way your hand felt in mine.
It is now as it's always been.
You are working tonight, and I am not myself without you here. You know that. I just wanted to say that nothing has changed. I mean, everything has changed since the teenagers we used to be talked the night through. But the same pull that kept us strapped into a pair of Ford bucket seats still has hold of me.
It isn't entirely reasonable, this need to be near you. But it just is, for whatever reason, so let's keep leaning into this thing like we always have. Anyway, I don't think we have much of a choice in it. It is now the way it's always been.
I love you. Goodnight.