It's been a hard year, I know. We haven’t spent much time together. The telephone waves we burnt up and the internet camaraderie we shared mean zilch in the real world. In the real world, love doesn’t have the shelter of distances. Love is always tested by proximity, by lack of space.
Neverthless, you amaze me. You’ve managed to hold on to so much of me in your absence. I shudder at the thought of what your presence might do to me. Turn me into a mad man, perhaps, sick with longing and disillusionment, like other couples we know. Or a boring man maybe, brimming with tales of the latest antics of his irrationally doted-upon toddlers; imagine, Yamini and Thoma would flee for their dear lives at the sound of my footsteps.
Except for the odd moment of desperation, I haven’t wronged you in thought, even. Tomorrow this time, your complete annexure-in-absence of one year of my time, affections and attention will be complete. For all practical purposes, you have been my master and commander, subtle and wise, your suggestions so strong they seemed to me my own. Yet, in some unlit alcove of my mind, I know. I have always known.
Darling, this is not working for me. Darling, this is working so well, it’s threatening to take me over, and I can’t have that. I can’t be boring or mad, you know that. I need always to be attractive for us to work. And us- this- working will render me unattractive. It’s like one of those algebraic conundrums you find so exhilarating to work out. Or from your perspective, it’s classical irony, the kind I can only aspire to create in my work.
My coffee has gone cold. It’s been a year since I had a good cup of coffee in the morning. Technically, I should have grown used to the taste of too much or too little coffee powder, or sugar or water or milk. Incredibly, I haven’t. On every one of those three hundred and more days, I've taken that first sip and sighed. More than anything, it's the sigh that gives me away. That sigh is my desire for all things you; the unspoken faith that tomorrow, things will be better; tomorrow, you'll wake me up with a towel around your long damp hair, the sight of newly exfoliated skin and the smell of freshly-brewed coffee jerking my senses into over-drive. Every morning, I wake up and sigh for you.
I miss sighing for me. I miss sauntering through the…
She idled her mouse over DELETE for a second, and clicked. She watched the window collapse on itself as her inbox skipped merrily along to the next email. David’s words made their presence felt immediately- like a rush of blood to the head, or the magic of a long-awaited first kiss, the excitement of everything new.
'Ello babes! We’re meeting at eight right? Not 7. Right? See ya.
She picked up her mug of coffee, tucked the laptop under her other arm, and shuffled across to the mirror. There, she looked deep into her eyes, and watched silently as her heart brimmed over. She couldn't help smiling. For here was this year’s love.
*Originally posted here on 25 September, 2006
*Image courtesy Oliver J. Ash
This year's love - David Gray (Also on The Girl Next Door OST)