Knowing that you must force a hasty goodbye while maintaining the resolve of a soldier just so you don’t turn around and change your mind about the whole thing is one of the harder things you may ever have to do because suddenly, nothing seems to matter more than not leaving. But you know should, because of obligations and such, so you distract each other by talking nonstop, even making a few phone calls to each other to make the feeling of being kicked in the stomach just a little bit easier to bear, trying to forget how hard this is, pulling out their shirt just so you can have something physical, because talking just isn’t enough in this moment.
What makes this even harder is the weight of the experience on your lover; and in a sense, you are lucky because at least you are moving. You are forced to occupy your mind with activities, but the reality of everything starts to set in once you stop moving, because when boarding the airplane, you happen to notice that this is the last time both of your feet will be on the ground in the same state again, at least until next time. Even so, whether it be two weeks or two months, in that moment it all feels equally terrible. The scenery starts to move as you depart, your tears moving as fast as the lights that go along with it. You share one last expression of sadness before suddenly losing signal – you’re forced to wait, forced to process everything that you’re feeling. The next few hours are another type of hell.
Yet a brief moment of repose occurs as you decide to look out the window, hoping that maybe, just maybe, you’ll travel past their house to have “one last moment,” thinking that somehow if you’re in the same space it’ll make it better, even though you’re 5,000 feet in the air – at least it’s the same air. So you search for any signs that might show where you are, hoping to recognize the roof of a building you’ve only seen from the ground, hoping that the road you’re watching the cars inch across leads back to them, because somehow that makes you feel closer, imagining the destination is where you had just left from.
But it doesn’t – because even if you did see their house, it just serves as a painful reminder that in this moment you still can’t share one more kiss. It’s impossible to look into their eyes, or catch the scent of their hair, or even feel their hand in yours. There’s a sadistic irony involved in the recognition of how the lights down below, remembering how all those cities and towns seemed so much more full of joy when you’re coming in. But now, now they feel as if they’re mocking you, splayed out in such a disgusting manner only there to serve as a reminder of how far apart you actually are from each other, so you decide to satiate yourself with your vices. A flight back would be easy enough right now; how easy it is to imagine returning home.
The thought is shocking – home isn’t where you live, but where you would rather be. It’s cliché, but it is your thought anyway. The sound of your lover’s voice is just enough to quell the stirrings inside, so you make another phone call to ease the hurt just a little less from the airport bar you hope to never remember the name of. What seems like such a simple thing, a flight back to your own home, feels as if your soul has been eviscerated and spewed out across the varnished wood. More distractions, making small talk about things that don’t matter so this entire ordeal seems inconsequential, but you both know that’s not how it is.
The first night apart is always the hardest, because suddenly everything’s different – everything’s back to the normal routine. Before them. But what reconciles you the most towards this situation is that it’s one in which you’re actively choosing. Departing wouldn’t be painful if the loss of each other’s company wasn’t worth something to begin with.