By Giovanna Veiga
“Hey,” his voice vibrates from my nightstand, startling me awake. I grab my phone, unlock it, and am met with the image of his bright hazel eyes staring back at me, crinkling at the corners in a familiar smile. I was mad at him before, for some reason or another, but now the desire to be near him again suffocates any other emotion I might’ve been feeling only moments before.
It was late here in Syracuse, but he was probably just getting into bed now, hundreds of miles too far in Denver. I close my eyes, pretending to be asleep, but I still feel the dip in the mattress as he crawls into bed next to me. The cool air of the room makes me shiver with goosebumps as he lifts the covers and slips underneath them. As if noticing, he wraps his arms around me and pulls me into his chest, soothing me with his warmth. I can’t help but smile against his neck as I let myself bask in the overwhelming feeling of what must be, what could only be, love.
“I miss you,” he whispers into my ear, breaking the silence of the room. His breathing smells like cigarettes but I inhale it in fondly, yearningly. I think I used to hate this scent before, but now it smells like the heartwarming memories I latch onto in the lonely hours of the night.
“I miss you too,” I say to an empty room. But if I reach out I can feel the scruff lining his jaw, the dip in his chin, the crease at the tip of his nose, all my favorite parts of him. I’m sure his hair has gotten too long in the months since I’ve seen him. I want to tell him to get a haircut, but it doesn’t actually bother me enough. He kisses my hand as it passes over his lips and I wonder how I ever got so lucky.
“So, what did you want to talk about?” flashes on the screen of the phone in my hand and the bed suddenly feels too big and cold for one person.
I bury myself deeper underneath the covers, smothering the worn stuffed dog that’s gripped between my arms as I remember what I had been planning on telling him. A knot tightens in my chest as I type the short string of words I’ve been rehearsing all week. But when I look up at him again, staring back at me from the other side of the bed, waiting, the words stick in my throat, and my fingers stiffen as they type. Tears prickle at the corners of my eyes as I consider everything I could lose, and suddenly I can’t recall what there is to gain anymore.
I glance back down at the cursor blinking at the end of the message, waiting for me to hit send.
I can’t do this anymore. This distance is too much.
I stare at the text for a while longer, too long, until the tears that were accumulating at the rims of my eyes had fallen, dried, and gone completely.
I delete the message instead, lock my phone, and place it back on the nightstand before turning to him on the bed. His arms are open and waiting for me. I smile as I snuggle into the warmth of his chest again, so familiar even though it’s so far away.
I turn and whisper into the pillow, “I can’t wait to see you again.”
Giovanna is a Syracuse student double majoring in architecture and art history. Although her stories are just nuggets from her personal life, she hopes they’re relatable and enjoyable to others.