Absence

Absence by Mustafa Abubaker / photo, Blue, via http://www.freeimages.com/browse.phtml?f=profile&l=micheli

I woke up and you were gone. I rolled a joint and I stepped outside and lit it, saw the smoke linger in the sunlight, felt the THC enter my lungs and my bloodstream, realized it was the earliest I’ve ever woken up. It was so bright out that day. The Sun wanted to know why but I didn’t have any answers. I turned my back to the light and took a seat on the balcony. I read a book. I watched the news. I listened to some records and I even managed to eat something.

Platony is a quiet town. Quaint shopping malls, a slew of bars strewn about, a few movie theaters and a one-for-all convenience store. I’ve lived here for maybe a year. Or is it two? I don’t remember. It feels like twenty.

I’ve suffered from insomnia since I was ten. I used to stay up until I had to go school, reading books and writing in them. Reading turned into watching trashy late night sitcoms and infomercials. That turned into talking on the phone to strangers. That turned into drugs. Nothing good happens between 2 and 5 AM.

I sat there for hours. Waiting. Thinking. Wishing. I wanted to go to sleep. I wanted to wake up the next day and roll over and see your face next to mine, feel the relief awaking from a nightmare brings, hold you close and apologize. I wanted to take you out for ice-cream in the dead of winter, take you to a safari in the humid summer, peruse corners of record stores with our fingers intertwined and share a joint sitting on the roof basking in the moonlight talking about what life would be like if we ever moved.

I woke up again the next morning. Your absence, in all its permanence, attacked me in my heart with such vigor I shoved the nightstand over, kicked my foot inside the television, punched the wall with both fists, screamed so loud the police found me on the floor of our loft in tears, near dementia, wanting to die, remembering how my grandfather took me fishing by the bay on my thirteenth birthday and mentioned he had been waiting his entire life for this moment, understanding you must have gotten sick of this mediocrity, wondering if you would wait for me by the gates, if the angels would let you in, if your smile still illuminated rooms, if you still quoted Jhumpa Lahiri on instinct, if heads still turned for you, if hearts still ran laps for you, if minds still wished the best for you, if souls still burned for you and if you would ever, ever, ever, ever, ever find a love as deep as mine for you again.

And every day for the rest of my life, I prayed you did.

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