He pushes his breath out hard trying to find an equilibrium. He is releasing something heavy. This is not a time I should bother him. I think about his blonde leg hairs which must jut out from rubbing against the carpet. He is electrified so much that I can feel it from behind the door he has closed himself off from me again. I don’t want to be behind the door, I want to watch his silhouette bend and fold in the dim candle light and I want to say to others “that is my boyfriend, he likes to do yoga next to a candle every night.”
When I walk behind him I watch this bump appear then reappear on the back of his calf. Does he know it’s there? Is it a vein? Is it a tumor? Sometimes I think it’s a tumor and I get sad. What if he died? I look at all his moles. Have you gotten these checked? I’ve asked him before.
I get paranoid before I leave the States for New Zealand thinking something might keep me from going and I can’t bear the thought of not seeing him. What if I don’t get my passport because I have school loans? For days I look at the clock and 9:11 looks back at me. No! Not again! What does this number mean? When I go on my daily run, I take extra precaution not to injure myself and eat lots of greens and beets. Everyday I check the status of my passport application and when it says delivered, I run a half mile to the mailbox in jeans and sandals and my jeans are falling down but I keep running because what if someone tries to steal it?
The week before my flight, I develop deep painful welts all over my body, face, and neck from a tea tree chemical burn and now I look like a cheetah. I can’t sleep through the night because I’m running a fever and if I move I can feel the sores. Tia and Luna, two dogs I live with, stay by my side and lick my wounds. I think about him to ease the pain.
When I purchase a plane ticket through Vayama, I get an email at 1:30 in the morning telling me the purchase didn’t go through because my bank account has insufficient funds and to call them right away. My vision blurs as my heart collapses. This can’t be! I check my account and there is clearly enough money so I google Vayama and read all sorts of bad reviews. I call my bank and they tell me there was no transaction with Vayama…phew… and purchase another ticket through Air New Zealand. It goes through right away. But this just adds to my paranoia. Now what? What if the plane goes down?
At a hostel in Wellington I am anxiously looking out of a two-story window for him, he’s going to be here soon. I can’t bring myself to do anything else but look out that window.
Now I see him standing there looking like he just got off the trail, just like he looked when we parted ways after the PCT and a sense of comfort washes over me. I run downstairs and throw my arms around him. I cry I’m so happy to see him.
He reads out loud to me at night in the confines of our tent. Before I’d lie on my back and close my eyes. But now I lie on my side and watch his eyes move across the pages beneath the light of his headlamp and listen to him breathe and inspect the contours of his big ears that stick out. I look for ear wax. I love his ears. No I love him. But I’ve never told him because I know he doesn’t love me back.