One of the first things I do most mornings, after yoga, after putting the kettle on for coffee, after putting the bread in to toast, after feeding the wee cat, though sometimes before all those things, you never know, is to open my email. I could pretend that I'm not looking for an email from my lover first and foremost, but we'd all know I'd be lying.
Monday morning, there were a couple, maybe a few. Shortish notes, all of them. One of them was a recap of the fun the night before. The next was an email saying he'd just found out he didn't get a position in London he'd applied for.
Which meant, I knew, because we've been talking about it for weeks, that the 4 months we were going to have together in the same city had just magically stretched to 8.
You would think - and I expected - that when I got this email I would go into paroxysms of delight. That I might dance a happy dance around my house and maybe sing a tune or two of joy.
What I did instead was nothing. Exactly nothing. I, in fact, forgot about it. Completely. I archived the note in Gmail and erased its existence from my conscious memory.
It wasn't until hours later, when I was leaving work and the door clicked softly behind me, that I remembered. Something about the click, I think, or the colours on the street as I walked out, or a smell in the air. But it was suddenly there.
Remembered the way you remember one piece of a dream from the night before. I could see the email in my mind's eye, the shape of the words on the screen. Hyper-sharp in the centre, wavery around the edges.
I couldn't remember if it was real or not.
It was, I ascertained after a few texts exchanged as I walked home from work. And I started leaking around the eyes, just a little.
All Monday night and all yesterday I felt bloated with tears, you know that feeling?, where you can feel them pressing against the inside of your skin all over everywhere and you feel puffy, about to burst.
This morning, I emailed Jennifer to tell her the good news and my weird reaction and I hit send and I started bawling. Gaspy-breathed, puffy-faced, snotty, red-eyed bawling.
It's the first time I've cried since he left.
When I fell in love with him, I did that fully conscious - and accepting - of the fact that he's based in two cities, an honest-to-goodness nomad travelling a worn path between two homes. So when I've felt sad or lonely this winter, I've mostly just pushed through it. "What can I do?" I thought. "Four months isn't a big deal," I thought. "Just x days till the next visit," I thought. "It'll go fast." I convinced myself.
When the subject of his plans in the fall came up, I said "I'm just going to work under the assumption that you'll be gone. That way I won't be disappointed." And I thought that was fine. I was steeled for it.
And now he's home in a couple of weeks, and now I don't have to brace myself for him leaving quickly after, and now, god, now I am crying.
The tearing feeling of saying goodbye once a month; the inability of skype to transmit smell; the camera right there by his chin where I might usually put a kiss; how he can still make me laugh till I snort over chat; the way I have been Holding It Together; the relief of not having to be this strong in the fall; the incredibly luxury of 8 months together.
It's just all a little much to take, all at once.
So you'd think I'd get that email telling me I'd have him here for more than two seasons and you'd think I'd leap up out of my seat and dance and sing. But I think it was more than my brain could handle. So the info got filed somewhere safe until I could start to process what those feelings might be.
I'm excited, fuck yes, and I can see the dancing and the singing on the horizon, but now, for right now, I believe I will have to lie on the floor and let those feelings feel their way through me.