Tell me it won’t always be this hard

 
This is a letter of thanksgiving. For that day long ago when you walked into my life. For what I am because of it. And for what you continue to bring to my life.

 
In my loneliest hours, I have the memory of you to comfort me. When I am beat down and cast aside, when I feel there is no affection left in my life, I think of you. Of how well you loved me. I remember what it feels like to be with you, the tenderness in your eyes when you look at me, the way your face lights up whenever I make you laugh.

 
And just like that, my mood shifts from despair to gratitude. The sadness of being bereft of sentiment is replaced by the realization of how fortunate I am to have tasted life with you in it. All the emptiness inside is filled with the memory of our endless affair. And then it is enough for me. I can go on, knowing that somehow, my cup still manages to be filled because once upon a time, you claimed me as yours.

 
For that, I will always be grateful. Because of you, I will always have love in my life.

 
 

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I can’t make it alone

 
All day long, you’ve been on my mind. I work, fixing other people’s words, hearing your voice in my head. I break from work and pick up my guitar, sing a song or two for you. I get up and walk around the room, wondering where you are now and what ground has the enviable fortune of being underneath your feet.

 
I’ve been fine for the most part. But the past few days, I’ve been feeling the weight of despair growing inside me. I feel separated from my limbs, like I no longer inhabit this body of mine. I’m powerless against my head and my heart that have decided, for now, to forget everything else but you. I fight the pain but I can’t win; it’s as if even my skin weeps for you. Maybe this is what it means to pine away. I’m choking on my tears and almost wish my heart would stop—stop breathing, stop breaking. Today, there is more bitter than sweet. More panic than wishful dreaming.

 
I know the only cure is to see you again, and I spend hours figuring out how to make it happen. How to get to where you are, and how to find you once I get there.

 
Where are you?

 
I try to exhale every ounce of air in me, as if to purge myself of this gnawing ache. But just like that, I breathe you in again, and I’m back where I started. Hopeless. Broken. Driven insane by the fire in me that has no place to go. Consumed by a love that won’t leave me alone.

 
Here’s the brutal truth, the truest words I’ve ever said: I would give it all up—everything—for a life spent with you. God help me, but it’s true.

 
 

Too far to forget

 
When I’m away from you, I make promises to myself. I tell myself to be content with what’s mine, to stop pining for a faraway love. I force myself to quit dreaming of dark corners in smoky bars and long, slender fingers wrapped around mine.

 
I make resolutions and pretend it’s not too late to start from scratch and purge myself of this secret sin of covetousness and regret.

 
But I know they’re little more than empty words, consolation points to somehow make this distance feel more natural, lend it some sense of rightness. I know that once the miles disappear and you and I are once more within arm’s reach of each other, the promises will shatter into nothingness and all I’ll be able to think about is being next to you, hearing your voice speak to me, exchanging that look we know well—a mixture of longing and happiness, loneliness and wishful thinking, thankfulness and the shared realization that every moment spent with each other is a gift that we may not be able to steal again.

 
When I am with you, there are no rules. The world is ours to do with it as we please, even if that world is only as big as the table we share and the space around us.

 
 

Just when I had you off my head

 
I finally started to put away the books, the records, the folded cigarette packs that could only mean you. Packed them in boxes tucked away in the dark. Left them in a room I vowed not to enter.

 
I busied myself with the rest of my life. The breathing in and breathing out, day after day. Trying to forget about that cramped room in the corner that even light was afraid to touch.

 
Everyday, I walk past it. Refusing to acknowledge that it’s there. Everyday, it becomes easier. Until I begin to believe the corner is empty. That all the darkness hides is simply more darkness.

 
Because what use is it, when it always ends the same? No matter which book I read, the hero always walks away in the end. The songs all sing about heartbreak, and cigarettes always, always kill.

 
So I can forget about a darkened room and taped up boxes. But what do I do about the rain? What do I do about the rain that makes itself known, in light or in darkness, and with its first drops instantly calls to mind the drenched homeland we share, reminding me that I never escaped you after all?

 
 

Leave me standing here

 
There is a pack of wolves chasing our past away. I asked it to stand its ground, unwilling to let go, but I can see the terror in its eyes.

 
And so I ask you again, perhaps for the last time, to leave me with something to remember you by. A letter … a lingering touch … or a shirt still tinged with the smell of cigarettes and Burgundy. (I’d ask for your voice, but it already lives in my head.)

 
Give me something that belongs to me. Before they come to tear our history apart.

 
 

 

For a thousand days

 
I don’t know where you are. The silence is killing. I feel you in my hand, and squeeze the empty space inside it. Even the air I breathe is lonely and aches for you.

 
I don’t know when I’ll see you again, or hear your voice. Do you long for me too? Do you sometimes look past your drink, into the dim light of the evening, and imagine me beside you? Does your hand still hold the memory of mine in it?

 
My heart is bursting. I don’t know how to continue without you. Even though I know that I will.

 
And I also know that, whatever life I live, my nights will remain the same. Spent in dreams and secret conversations with you. In painful sighs and tears hiding behind a whispered name. In wondering and missing. Just like this, always in love with you.

 
 

 

All the pieces of our recent past

 
My days crawl along in slow motion. I walk around only half-present, living instead in my daydreams of being with you. Or even just around you. In my head, I constantly say your name. I love how it feels on my silent tongue, how it rolls effortlessly, endlessly between my lips and that space inside me where you live.

 
What are your days like now?

 
I asked you once if you sometimes think of me. You said, “All the time.” Am I on your mind now? Do you replay our nights together, hours spent talking and holding hands? Do you, too, marvel at how, after more than twenty years, we still can’t stop touching each other?

 
I sit at my kitchen table writing this, but I may as well be sitting next to you in a dark corner, our hands intertwined, our world reduced to those few square feet of space containing us. Together and apart from this world. For that moment, our love is right. And nothing to hide.