I just miss you.

Remember when I said you were my escape? How you take away the pain and stress and and burden of my work, of my family, of life? When I’m with you, life doesn’t exist beyond the comfort of your arms around me, beyond the ferocity of your hazel eyes. There is no restlessness. There is no hurt.

So what happens when I don’t get that break from reality? When for weeks all that I get to feel is mental stress, physical exhaustion, and the heartbreaking cases of very, very sick kids fighting for their lives? I get jaded. I get scared. I start to lose hope. I go to a dark place that I am sometimes not proud to admit even exists.

But you are the light in that darkness. Sometimes a few words from you is enough to keep me going, like a candle that lights up a house in a middle of a storm. And being with you feels like that bizarre 70 degree weather in November – warm and bright. You are a breath of fresh air, just what I need when my entire world is a raging sea and I’m struggling to tread water.

Not seeing you is ordinary. It’s inevitable. And the hours turn to days, and the days turn to weeks, and my need for you grows stronger. You have turned from someone that helps me get through a day into something that I cannot live without. You were caffeine, something I thought I needed to get through the day; something that helps me survive. But now you’re my drug, and I have to take a hit to get that high. Nothing is ever enough. And when it’s been too long, I shake, I tremble. I can’t think, I can’t function. It didn’t use to be like this. And this withdrawal – this intense need of a dose of you –  is scary, especially when I feel like I need it more than you do. Like you craving a specific flavor of ice cream. And me, I’m the junkie who sells her kidney to be able to afford my next hit.

I’m sorry if I’m being difficult or confusing. I was never good at explaining myself. So when you kept asking me what was wrong, I wanted to say all of this. I really, really did. But all I could think of was, “Nothing. I just miss you,” and I couldn’t even spit that out. Because all this comes from that, me missing you – when my bones ache to feel you again, and my hands search for that softness I can only find when your hair is between my fingers. All this comes from me craving your warmth, your fingers tracing lines on my skin. It comes from the look on your eyes when you look at me when you say things like, “You’re special to me.”  It comes from the sound of your breathing when you sleep, the one I vaguely remember. And how you slowly open your eyes and your lips mumble a slurred greeting.

I don’t need you to do anything, and I’m sorry if I scared you or had you worried, or if you felt guilty for some reason. Tears just come when they want to come, I guess. It’s nothing. I just miss you.

What I Know

I don’t know much about politics,  or American history, or history in general. But I know that when your face changes from a chuckle and a smile to complete terror when we’re driving, you’re about to slam on your breaks and I should brace myself. I don’t know half of the American presidents, or even a third of them (let’s be real), but I know the veins that run through your arms so well that I’m confident they’re more familiar to me than my own. I can’t tell you where Israel is on a map, or really even Nebraska, but I know your smile feels like summer – warm, easy, comforting. And when that smile evolves into a laughter, it sounds carefree, full of abandon.

I don’t know beers like you do. I have no idea what IPA stands for, or what it is exactly. But I do know the color of the sky, that specific pink and orange, that night we sat on the porch of our new house as we ate pizza and said hi to everyone walking their dogs. I remember that perfect shade of blue on my birthday when we went to the lake near your parents’ house. I may not always remember which type of beer you like, but I always remember the orange glow of the streetlamp at night outside my room as it peeks through my curtains, during those nights I would lie so close to you I couldn’t tell your heartbeat apart from mine.

I will l never master Chemistry, Biology, Medicine, or Nursing. But I know that your presence helps me breathe. I will never forget the way your hair feels between my fingers, the way your tongue dances with mine, the way you gently but firmly grab the back of my neck. I will never let myself forget that.

There are so many things I don’t know. And there are so many things I don’t know I don’t know.  But I know how happy it made me when you whispered in between REM cycles,  “You mean a lot to me.” I remember the fear that followed, the nervous, tongue-tied chuckle I gave you in return. I wanted to say it back but I couldn’t, not without crying and I didn’t want to worry you.

Science is about finding answers. Medicine is trying to put those answers into practice. I don’t have all the answers to all medical questions, but I have a lot of answers about you. I don’t even think I know one-hundredth of what happens in the human body, but I know what happens in yours and what happens in mine. I know all too well what happens when my fingertips too lightly brush against your arm. I know the rhythm of your breathing when you’re sleeping, like a lulling hum for me when I can’t sleep.

I also know that I have a very limited time with you. And that somewhere in Virginia, someone will be lucky to get to see you drink coffee in the morning and watch you leave work to go home at the end of the day. Someone will watch you write brilliant things with those hands that I know so well. I know that someone will talk to you every day and not know the colors of your eyes. I don’t either. I know thay they’re blue, or maybe green, sometimes gray… I could never really figure that out. And that’s something I’m willing to continue to figure out.

I know that waking up every morning will feel even more foreign in my new room because you won’t be there. What I don’t know is how much I’m going to miss you. I can’t even pretend to imagine how much I’m going to miss you lying next to me, doing nothing, doing everything. What I don’t know is how much I’m going to hurt – to physically hurt – to feel the burning in my skin, the aching in my bones from the simple desire of just wanting to hold you.

I can’t count the number of months or years I spent wanting to be and actually being alone. But it’s also impossible to count the days I have spent being happy with you. There is something satisfying about asking you about you, about your day, about your family, like quenching a thirst to know things about you. And these days of adventures and finding answers may be cut short, but the way you made me feel is unquantifiable. The happiness I have felt these past few months cannot be contained in days, not confined in 24 hours, in a sunrise and a sunset. It’s counted in the little moments when I felt like the room can catch fire and I wouldn’t notice. In those moments when the hours felt like minutes, and the end of the day seems merely seconds away. It’s reflected in the way I feel about you, and how I slowly and then all of a sudden wanted you in my life every day. After you leave, I know it’s going to be hard. I know it’s going to hurt. But it’s going to hurt because it matters. Because it’s important.  Because you are important.

I don’t know a lot of things, but I know these. I hope you know them, too.

The world, indeed, is not a wish-granting factory.

Someone once told me that the best way to be with you is to be honest with you. So here it goes.

In a nutshell, I don’t want you to go. Of course I don’t want you to go.

You first asked what we are now, since we haven’t defined our relationship since February. I dodged the question because I still didn’t know. Or at least in that moment I didn’t know. I have been holding myself back from progressing, from moving this forward, because I knew you were going to leave, one way or another. And now you’re asking us to reevaluate our situation to see if this is worth our time and effort. I feel like we went on a full circle here. I didn’t want anything real because I knew this was going to end sooner rather than later. Now that it’s ending I wish this was something real. I’m pretty sure if you look up the word ‘infuriating’ in the dictionary, it’s going to show you this situation. Also look up: irony.

Then you asked me if we could keep this going when you leave. It broke my heart to say “I don’t know…” which we both know meant “No.” And at that moment, I hated myself. I hated that I was contributing to your pain. After a few more minutes, you asked again, “When I take this job, are we really over?” You asked that through your tears. You sobbing is one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever seen in my life. I buried myself in your pillow, looking away from you. I couldn’t stand to see your face as your heart continued to break. “Look at me,” you pleaded. “Let me see your face” I hesitantly lifted my face off the pillow without ever meeting your eyes. I didn’t feel like I deserved to look at you.

A few minutes later, I explained myself through whisper. “You understand, right? You understand why I’m hesitant about us?” I reminded you of PCN, of how much it sucked to not see you for 3 weeks. That was 2 months ago, when we were still kind of sort of dating (as opposed to now? I’m not really sure what our updated status is). If I couldn’t handle not seeing you for 3 weeks when I didn’t feel this strongly for you, what’s the next 5 months going to be like for me? Hell? I didn’t say that, though. All I said was, “Those 3 weeks sucked. I don’t think I can do that for 5 months.” Which was the truth; just not that whole truth, I guess. We both acknowledged the fact that our relationship’s strength lies in us being physically together, in holding hands, in laying in bed doing nothing, in falling asleep next to each other. Our best moments involve your arms around me, my fingers tangled in your hair, being so close to you I could feel my heartbeat against your chest and bounce back to me. 5 months of minimal physical time together will be detrimental to us – we knew that.

You started thanking me. “Thank you for everything. For being god to me. I learned so much from you.” You thanked me for things I don’t even remember doing, for things that I didn’t know meant a lot to you. “Thank you for driving to Wal-mart at 5 in the morning when I felt like I was dying… You did everything you could to make me feel better. No one has taken care of me like you have…. I’m never going to find that.” And I tried to be positive. “Yes. Yes you will. You’re going to find someone who’s going to take care of you and who will want to do the same things you want to do.” I don’t know why, but I felt like I was pushing you away. I continued, “I think we’re just trying to save the world in very different ways.”

My training has taught me to act composed and think logical in moments of crisis. So when we were having this conversation, I was being reasonable and almost clinical in my thinking.  New relationship + 4 hour distance = no good. It wasn’t until 24 hours later when I was home in Baltimore when the tears came. A friend texted me, “Is it sinking in now?” Yes, yes it was. It was sinking in, in a fetal position, crying so hard it was hard to breathe, 8/10 pain kind of way. Yes, it was sinking in that I’m going to wake up in the morning, knowing I will not see you in the near future. It was sinking in that I won’t be able to touch you for a long time once you leave. Yes, it was sinking in that we are ending this even before we actually start. And I didn’t know what to do. I knew that I didn’t want you to leave, but of course it wasn’t my place to ask you to stay. But at the very least, I wanted to keep this going. I wanted us to keep fighting for this. And then my friend texted, “I think deep down you already fell for him. You just don’t want to admit that to yourself yet.” And in that moment, I knew. I knew that I really liked you, that I cared about you more than anyone I’ve ever been with. I’m always the last one to figure out things like this, aren’t I?

You texted me goodnight, and as a Hail Mary pass, I replied, “Did you mean it? When you said you wanted to try to make this work?” I was ready to tell you that I want this to work. That I’m willing to try. I started to type up a message saying that everything in my experience and common sense, really, is telling me that we shouldn’t. But I want to, because I can’t imagine not having this – not having you, in one form or another – anymore. But it was your turn to break me. “Who knows, maybe you’ll meet a new dashing resident and I’ll meet a political event organizer who’s a total babe.” Like daggers. We agreed to meet and spend more time together to talk about this. But it seemed like you already had an answer.

I know it’s only 4 hours, that it won’t be impossible to make it work, but do we really have it in us to fight for this? Do we have a strong enough foundation to make it through this? What would be the smarter thing to do – to risk the budding relationship and power through, or try to be friends and wait 5 months from now and start over?

More importantly, what do you want to do?

It is necessary for this to be casual.

People ask me why things haven’t progressed yet. Why we haven’t progressed yet. It has been long enough, hasn’t it? But what is holding us back?

1) You’re leaving. We don’t know when, how, where to, what for, or really if ever. But odds are you’re leaving. And I can’t commit myself into something, into someone who I know is going to leave. What am I supposed to do with myself when you leave? If I give this and you everything that I can and want to, what will be left of me?

2) You keep saying yourself that we won’t last. That you won’t put money in us making it very far. That I shouldn’t prioritize you over my friends, because I’ve known them longer, and odds are they’ll be staying in my life a lot longer than you are. And you said it yourself. You’re not being pessimistic; you’re just being realistic. So again, why commit myself into something that will not last?

3) I’ve seen you at your worst. And your worst threatens to come out sometimes, and I’m not sure how to, and if I can, handle it. I just want to stop talking and stop listening, and go far away. Not really relationship material, this girl. I tend to bail.

4) It can get very, very complicated. We started this with the premise that we can’t do anything serious right now. That we both don’t want anything more than just having fun. I meant that, and I still do. If we call this what people want us to call it, then we’ll be asking questions. “Why can’t we hang out more?” “Why do we never have enough time together?” “Why does your sister disprove of this?” Things will get too real too fast. All the problems we’ve been shoving underneath the shallowness of just spending time together will all come out and engulf us. And I’m not sure we’ll survive that.

5) Maybe I’m just really not ready for it. You’re great. This is great. But I can’t have anything more than this, because maybe I simply do not want to have anything more. I want this, I want what we have. I want to keep doing things we’re doing. But maybe just not with you.

6) And maybe vice versa! I know that there are things we don’t agree on. There are things that I know you cannot stand, and even hate about me. There are things that we don’t see eye to eye on, and who knows maybe those things will eventually rip us apart. Maybe you’re better suited with someone else, also. Maybe you know this, too.

…Or maybe I’m just looking for a way out. Am I that broken? To run away from something, the only thing, that has remotely made me happy in a very, very long time.

It’s a lot to risk. It’s a lot to ask of me and of you. So can everyone blame us if we can’t define this yet? Whatever this is? So for now. let’s just keep this as it is: Casual.

 

I Don’t Know What This Is

It’s in the way you talk to me, all the time, texting and calling when you say you will. It’s in the way you drive almost an hour to come see me, just to sleep next to me. Not with me. Just innocently lie next to me for a few hours. It’s in the way you try so hard to reciprocate the concern I genuinely show, from catching me literally as I fall, to making sure I eat, to protecting me from sleaze bags in bars. It’s in the way you sing to me one of the most romantic songs I have listened to when I was growing up, in another language that you are very diligently trying to learn. It’s in the way you glance up at me in disbelief when you open your birthday present and realized that it’s not just what you wanted, but exactly what you needed. It’s in the way you tell me that you had a near magical day, and that I was a big part of that.

You do things and say things I have always dreamed someone would. I catch us doing things that are sickeningly romantic, for which me from 6 months ago would have mocked us. I catch us saying flirty and sweet things to each other, making me act like a school girl every time you sing things like, “My dreams fly me, to a place near Baltimore.” But I also catch myself smiling a lot more, laughing a lot more. I look at myself and I am happy.

I don’t know what this is. It’s been 3 months of actual dating, 6 months of talking, and I still don’t know what this is. I still don’t know what we are and what I want us to be. I don’t know what I want you to be. I have never been this uncertain about someone for this long, and that confuses me. Is this normal? Is this how it’s supposed to be? To cautiously walk into something, watching every step, taking very calculated risks, over-thinking every act? But at the same time just trusting that what happens happens, that there is no use forcing things and defining and redifining us. It’s a mixture of being unsure, but trusting that this feels right, at least for now.

That’s what we are. A balance of things, and always in sync. We’re always on the same page, and it surprises me every time.

I don’t know what to make of us, but I do know that when this ends, and it will end, a big part of me will be at  a loss.