The ice cube in my Pinot Grigio is melting into watery sweetness. It’s hot – too hot to breathe – as I stand on my balcony in the middle of the night, staring out into a black, starless abyss.
I wonder if the sky he’s staring up at is starless, too.
It’s been 43 days and ten hours since I saw him last: since he held me tight outside of Boston Logan Airport. I’ll never forget that lonesome pit in my stomach: the one that haunted me from that moment until now; the one that told me deep in my guts this was maybe goodbye forever; most likely goodbye forever.
My days and nights have revolved around the image of him; jotting down funny little things that were happening to write and tell him; ways of describing all of the ways I missed him. Falling asleep every night staring out my window and up at the sky, replaying the words he had told me on our last night together, lying on our backs in the sand along the North Shore. We’d stared up at the stars with hands intertwined as he whispered: “when you feel alone, look at the sky and know I am looking at the same one, no matter where I am.”
I cradled my phone to my chest all day and every night like a child clutches a security blanket, willing it to ring and see his name flash across the screen. The further his boat traveled to the other side of the earth, the more likely he was to dial through in the middle of the night. I cursed myself any time I fell too deeply into sleep to be roused by the vibration of his calls during those wee morning hours.
There were lots of calls that first month. Lots of calls stating his loneliness; how much he missed us curled up drinking boxed red wine in the rickety wooden bed; late afternoon drives along the coast in the wrangler, the view set to black crashing waves and muted winter skies; pink sunsets from the Ship Bottom pier parkbench.
But his calls began to come through fewer and further between. After a handful of days not hearing from him at all, I sometimes had to remind myself that he was a real person who was living and breathing and walking and talking somewhere on the other side of the planet. It pained my heart that he couldn’t live, breath, walk and talk with me anymore. I felt the rope slipping loosely through my hands as I struggled to hang on; inch by inch, he falls further from reach, like the ocean swallowing up the sun at dusk until there’s no gold line left.
It was on this 43rd day that I got that dreaded email from him, the one he sent because he was too cowardly to pick up the phone and call. He met someone; he didn’t know what it meant but this thing between us – did it really make sense? He was so far away…
My eyes stung with tears as I read on in disbelief, hunkered over my MacBook’s glowing screen in the darkness of my bedroom. I slammed it shut before I’d even finished reading his message, knowing all too well how the story would end before I even got there.
I stand now on my Juliet balcony, smoking the cigarette I had fiddled out of a clutch from some other night out, drinking my watered down wine and willing the tears running out of my swollen eyes to stop. The black, starless sky looks as lonely as I feel tonight. I wonder what the sky in Thailand looks like, and if they are lying on their backs together staring up at it while he feeds her the same line about looking up at the same time when they are far apart. I wonder if he’s recycling his words for her, and if she, too, is falling in love with him under the constellations.
I talk to the sky but it says nothing back. Perhaps I’ll never know.