Your absence has mass.
The void you've left beside me is full and animate and ruthlessly material. It dents the pillow. It tangles the sheets. It radiates a heat I feel on the underside of my skin and smells as you did — lush and biotic, like leather — when you twined your fingers in my hair and took command of my mouth.
I lay my palm on your truant chest and fit my cheek into the groove of your missing collarbone. I press my lips to your invisible jugular and am reassured by the strong and steady beat of your nonexistent pulse.
With my hip pressed against the space yours would occupy and my foot secreted between your ghostly calves, I can finally sleep. I slip soundlessly into your absence, which is so full and animate and ruthlessly material that it has become something else altogether:
I am stamped, like a passport, by the places our minds have visited. I am imprinted with way-markers to the destinations we have seen through daring, imaginative leaps.
In my cupped palms I hold the souvenirs I've collected as I've traversed you, plotting my way across your cerebral map. The shards of smooth, weathered beach glass I dug from the sandy coast crashed by your creative waves. The fossilized rocks I gathered while scaling the vertical face of all you know. The glittering, electric gemstones I snatched from midair as I hurtled my way through the twisting galaxies of your neural pathways.
But with you gone, my sense of direction left in search of you, leaving me to bump into these fours walls painted a shade of flat-white. I've traded daring travels for mundane details, like the droop of week-old flowers, the tarnish on the back of an old silver spoon, and the lip prints I leave on the rims of coffee cups.
The absence of your untethered mind has left me grounded. And I'm trying to remember how to fly.
There is a spot behind my rib cage, unseen and beyond touch. I imagine it as a fissure at my core. It is where your vacant presence lives. It is where I feel your absence most.
There are times when that crack in me grows, throbs, and glows. Like when I'm dwarfed by an expanse of light-spangled sky. Or walk in a veil of the valley's mist, cleaving my way through it in a standing breast stroke. Like when I run my fingers over the smooth surface of stone, feel the notes of a song sink into me like teeth, or am caught with the tannins of blood red wine dancing on my tongue.
In those moments that widen my spirit's eyes, the crack in me expands. And in making room for you to come home, it crowds out the rest of me. I breathe, but my lungs don't fill. I eat, but don't taste. I live, but leave some of the space around me uninhabited.
I know your absence so well now that it is the thing I have come to love. And here is what I fear:
It will be good enough.