The girl I'm in love with is at home now, in her quaint two-story Wisconsin house on the fringe of the metropolis. She’s probably lying in her bed reading King Lear, trying to catch up to me in the Shakespearian tragedies, a little distracted by the memories of her time spent here with me for the past 6 days.
I picked her up this past Tuesday at the Greyhound bus depot. I don't exactly know what happened to me when I saw her walking through the grimy depot doors with her blue duffle bag. Everything, the entire first year of college with its concentrated euphoria of first love, fell on me when I saw her again. After all those never-ending days of wondering where she was or what she was doing in her home town merely withered away and I smiled uncontrollably as she caught my eye coming in. She looked skinnier, frail even, but one of Earth’s most beautiful creatures. I didn’t hug her; there were conservative people everywhere, we didn't trust ourselves in public, and we wouldn’t have known how to surmount the awkward foreignness of touch even if there weren’t. It took quite a bit of alone time for us to recover our previous state of togetherness. We sat on opposite ends of the couch, chattering, laughing, stealing glances at each other because our eyes were hungry after all that absence (in reality it had only been a few weeks since we had seen each other, but it felt more like a year). Finally, I was going to show her my new guitar in the basement, and when she stood at the top of the stairs pretending to have forgotten how to descend them, I put my arms around her waist and leaned into her, feeling electrified, thanking God silently for letting her make the journey to me and my little spacious city.
The week of her stay was pleasant but slightly stressful for both of us. We obtained little sleep because we couldn’t bring ourselves to separate for the night, knowing that our time together was limited. I brought her to see the Milky Way in the country and we kissed each other sweetly and persistently under them until it got too cold and the little points of light were sunken in thick gray clouds. As we drove back to my place, I looked over to her as she yawned and talked cheerfully in my passenger seat and I let myself notice her charming cuteness, how she is slightly taller than I am, and how she has kind, complex eyes that don’t seem to ever tire of resting gently upon me, my faults, all my modest abilities. I have to wonder if I deserve her indomitable trust, her intelligent presence, the sweetness of her body pressed to mine as she leans into me, the beautiful foreign words that swim over me as she pours them into our conversations (her vocabulary trumps mine by more than a little), the tingling pleasure of her lips on the tender part of my neck, and the inevitable tide of love that swells in me when she’s laughing, or failing, or bored, or sick, or unsure. In every state, I want her with me; in every town, she would be enough to reach in and conjure contentment in me. I would love her if we were two girls in Catholic school, or two veiled women in the Middle East, or if we lived a thosand years ago. Environment has nothing on this burning, courageous love we give to each other every time our eyes meet. How did a mild friendship come to this?
I haven’t told her that I love her. It is an unspoken truth between us that we are madly in love with each other, and to vocalize it would be hasty and unwise, like sticking pins in the wings of a newly discovered species of butterfly so as to scrutinize and label it to an untimely death. Maybe it is not so dramatic; maybe we are inexperienced in the true nature of love and don’t know how to tell the other how serious this emotion is that sticks to us. There is no question that we love each other. Now that half the United States stretches out between us again, my love for her has never been so invasive and persistent. It is continuously in my face as I try to forget and mow the lawn or visit with my two-dimensional friends. It is a yearning that we both confess to and must suffer individually until we are able to hold each other again. Until then, I can do nothing but stare out the window, write my little poems, and try desperately to keep this raging love in my chest quiet.