He looks at me from a picture tacked to my cubicle wall. There’s depth to the shot—a river reed in the foreground of the frame, obscuring part of his shirt. But he is still flat. Not real. Just an image.
His face animates in the Skype window, sharing tales of the movie set and his latest discoveries from Wine Spectator Magazine. He is breathing and alive, but I cannot feel him inside that plasma screen. And a blown kiss goodbye isn’t the same as the real thing.
I wear his t-shirt to bed. A white undershirt I stole in Tampa. It still smells of him faintly, but it’s not his shape that fills out the fabric. It’s just mine, wishing his was nearby.
I watch his favorite TV shows, Tivoing each week. Trying to recreate the feeling of Sunday mornings on his couch, a homemade vanilla latte in hand and his body perched next to my curled feet.
When I return from our visits, he is fresh in my memory. I can close my eyes and recreate him almost perfectly. I can feel his fingers on my face and see his mouth forming each word he says to me. And I try so hard to hang on to the vividness of it.
But the rise and set of the sun of each day makes the picture fade. Its colors grow dim and my mind grows fuzzy. I try to convince myself that he’s real and it’ll all come back, but that reality seems so far away.
So I lock myself in. And, perhaps, my heart’s own defenses prevent me from recalling the sharpest memories. Everything’s safer when it’s dull. I go through each day biding my time. Counting my days. Making my lists. Waiting to feel three-dimensional again.