State to State

Across state lines, I wonder if you love me.

Because all I know is that you love me here, in this town where the only connection between us was our feet drifting over the same streets as we daydreamed through adolescence. Different schools, different cultures – I was wearing ripped jeans and a baggy T-shirt on my way to church while your leather jacket raced across rooftops at night.

All I know is that you love me there, in high school where I’d pick you up at your locker so we could run away together. The train car would shake, I would stumble, and your solid weight would always catch me. You told me I had no roots, no balance, but you didn’t care.

All I know is that you love me.

You love me in that fairytale where it was just you and me. You love me on the streets we used to meander down when it rained – one umbrella, we both got soaked, always. You love me in the diner where I stole your chips and you hid a smile behind a fist.You love me when I shoot you in video games and when I smile as you play the piano.  You love me in my home where my family greeted you with warmth and my grandmother placed your picture on her fridge.

You, with fiction on your lips, and me, with rhymes in my eyes that would make anyone else run away.

You love me when I email you philosophical questions at 5AM when I’m away on trips and miss home. Would you go in Nozick’s experience machine and forget about me? Is that illusion of happiness better than us? You love me when I rant and rave and you have to grab my arms so I stop pacing. You love me even as you start to say goodbye.

You love me on our last date, but you don’t call it that. Three days’ warning before you get on a plane to escape the place where we fell in love while I am left here, rooted for once. Chained to my responsibilities and my education and my family. You leave the place where we are happy. You love me even as you run away, and I wonder if you know that the hero and heroine are supposed to escape together at the end of the story.

You love me when I drink about you when the nights between us are too long. Or when you’re at another bar that I’ll never walk into. You love me when I yell on the phone about how much I miss you and how much your silence hurts me. You love me in this deception of love and that was a problem, wasn’t it?

Across state lines, I wonder if you love me.

Do you think of the miles of stars in between us and how they’re just like us? They’re never close enough to touch.

Your steady voice wove its way into my dreams where I’d make you smile. The only place I could see you smile. I sat on benches staring up at the stars, hoping you were too. But that was impossible, because you just woke up to a new day without me while I struggled to close my eyes. Did you know that the static only makes your voice sound better when we talk on the phone? You’ve always loved my laughter – does it sound better to you too?

All I know is that I love you.

For years I’ve believed my heart would follow yours anywhere. I think it has. I think it still would. But my body is tired. It misses the press of yours when the wind pushes it back. And my heart, while able for another trip, wonders if it’s still worth it.

Across state lines, I wonder if you love me.

But my heart shouldn’t have to wonder anymore when yours wanders farther away each day. I know you love me here. But you’re not here and isn’t that the problem? You’re not here to love me here. I’m not there for you to love me there.

Across state lines, I wonder if you know that love isn’t always enough.