Will you be going away at Christmas? I inquire hesitantly.
I’m never quite sure if you mean figuratively or literally. But no, I’m not going anywhere during the holidays. Does it make you feel better knowing that?
Yes, I shake my head.
You know, with the technology of today people can always be in contact, pretty much wherever they are–well, except on cruise ships–he says.
It’s not the same, I protest.
Where do you think I am at 5 or 6 pm on a Friday? Where do you think I go?
The panic is rising. For the life of me, I cannot picture him anywhere else than where he is right at that moment. I don’t know. I really don’t know, I whisper.
You know, I don’t need to see you in order to keep you in my heart and have the faith that you are somewhere out there; I know that you are there, T gently says.
Can we talk about something else, please?
I don’t know if he really understands what it is that I am trying to say to him. I feel like I’ve explained it a million times, but I fear that I haven’t done a good enough job of it. I often wonder if these feelings are ever going to go away.
For me, gone is gone. It is as though there is nothing in between. I believe that it comes from a very young and scared place but I have such a hard time trying to put it into proper words that I feel like maybe we will never make sense of what is happening. It feels like maybe this is just the way it’s going to be.
It’s not a matter of missing, or needing or wanting. It’s not about knowing where he is or what he is doing or whether he is with anyone else. I don’t need to know those things. It’s more about panic and terror and nothingness. It will get to the point sometimes where I’ll even wonder if perhaps I don’t really know him at all–that he is a just a name I have heard or read about somewhere or that he is just someone I have made up.
When it’s at its worst, there is no T at all. He is gone. No longer existing. There is no him outside of those 4 walls. If I cannot see or hear him, then he is nothing.
The big thing is that I’ve also started to realize it’s not just a T thing. Friends, family and sometimes the boys will just stop existing when I don’t see them for more than a day or so. Sometimes, I can go months without even thinking of the other person. It’s as though the moment, or shortly thereafter, that I stop seeing them they just disappear. It feels like I am living in a world where every single person can instantly become a stranger and when we meet again it’s like starting at the beginning again.
So what does a person do about it?
It’s not something you can tell people without getting strange looks. Unless you’ve experienced it, I’m sure it must sound quite bizarre. How is it even possible that you can’t remember seeing someone or talking to them only a day or so ago? I feel that T has a hard time understanding how it is for me, so how could anyone else?
With my friends and family, I will text or Facebook, or even call them on the phone. The boys are easier, because you can hold them and just be with them and no explanation is ever needed.
With T though, it’s a bit harder. It all feels shameful and immature and makes it a little more difficult. Most weeks–at least once or twice–I will write a message, with two little words–Dr. K?–and hit send. I don’t need anything big from him. Not a lot of words and no need to talk. Just a simple, ‘I’m here‘. That’s all. And then, for the most part, I can continue to move forward.
Some days though, I don’t budge and I am stuck in a place where nothing can fill the seemingly bottomless hole that exists inside. No matter how much I try, it feels as though a piece of me is missing. There is something gone and I simply don’t feel whole. Absence does not mean temporary distance, it means disappearance or abandonment. The feeling of being left on my own becomes so overwhelming that it feels as though it is not survivable.
So, when T asks me where I think he is when we are not together, I honestly don’t know. He is just gone and I am here. Alone.
The foundation of the bond has crumbled under my feet.