This is for all the people I love:

I look at my maps sometimes, trying to find you. A different state, different time zone. You will always be an hour ahead of me, and it will always be cooler where you are. When I get all big in my thoughts, I'll look at the US as a whole and try to draw the shortest line to you. How many miles? How many hours? Calculating the costs, tabulating lists that will only get balled up and thrown away.

Would it be any different if you were in the state next door, in the South like me? Doubt it. This is the irony of just one section of our lives. That we are so connected in so many ways, but reality and finite boundaries will always remind us that we haven't gotten nearly as far as we thought. You could be right next door, but if I couldn't get in, it would feel the same. The tug of knowing that you are close but so spread away that I can't see you, touch you, hear your voice calling up to me from the sidewalk, it sends me spinning when I stop myself long enough to pay attention. I try to keep this tug at bay, hold it back, dam it up. It's not that important, I think. There are more important things to tend to. This is true. I know this.

The calendar does help, a little. It tells me when I will get to walk around with you again, when I get to lose hours in conversation with you, when I get my friend back. The empty squares point to full squares and, even if plans changed in an instant, and plans fell through, I would have been made a little lighter knowing that for that one moment, those squares were full for a reason, reserved for something as small as your company.

Parts of you are in this machine, resting, or reaching out. Still more parts of you are on the phone sometimes. Images of you float in my head, so you're there too. But still they are just parts. Not enough to satisfy me, never enough to be real. I question if it would be easier to not have known you at all then to be so in between feelings. Of course it would be. But then I wouldn't feel alive. I wouldn't have hope.

I hope one day to be where you are, to be in a world where we both are. Some of you I will only visit briefly and leave behind again, as I move to other places. Some of you will have me around a bit longer than that. I am realizing that home means many things, all at once.

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