Separately, in regard to space or company; in a state of separation as to place; aside.

He has been talking about time travel more than usual. About going back to his first year of college to be a better student, to use what he knows now to make better decisions. In the middle of complaining that things would be boring because all the television would be repeats for him, his eyes widen. “Oh but I’d have to go and get you early,” he says. Early, I ask? He explains that since we didn’t meet until his sophomore year of college, he would miss me and would have to go and get me early. This is the most loving thing anyone has ever said to me. I say so and my eyes get red and shiney.

It shouldn’t surprise me, though. In nine years, we have rarely been apart. Separate. Away from each other. It began the first night. In the rain, he told me he liked someone. I asked who and he smiled. I kissed his wet lips and cheeks so many times. It was as if this brand new connection between us had a life of its own. "Couldn’t you take the second bus home? Couldn’t you just take me with you?" And that second bus turned into the third and fourth. And for the first time for me, it was about love. I wanted to be with this person because I loved him.

In two or more parts; asunder; to piece; as, to take a piece of machinery apart.

After many hugs, he is out the door. I hear him lock all the locks behind him. And it is just me. Me and my ibook and Ralph Nader on CNN. Seconds later, he is back. "I couldn't leave..." he says. "Without saying goodbye again." Echoes of that first night.

And here I am. Sitting alone in Washington, D.C. as he speeds into the night in a green car, going to the mountains, where he will do his duty and be a good grandson. Where he will be there to help if the old man dies. I knew he didn't want to go without me. He wanted to wait until I could get off of work too. He told her that, told his mother. The phone began to squeal with her pleas to him. I closed my eyes and told myself that I’d do the same thing if I were her.

I am a big girl, I whisper to myself. A big girl in a big city with a small dog in a big apartment. I am a big girl with green and blue stripes in my hair. I am sturdy, but I will miss him as I always do. When we are apart.