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How easily is it to slip into something so familiar? I lie here in the darkness with that question circling. With you, so very easy.

We spent the last three hours on the phone. You had called wanting to check up because “that’s what friends do when they know the other hurts.” Friends. I should be happy with that word, right? Happy that there is some kind of relationship. After all, you and I cannot love each other with the way we love. So, a friendship seems the most reasonable.

“Thank you,” I say. The only thing that comes out of a constricted throat. Evidence that even though, yes, we are friends, I am still madly in love with you. It isn’t something I would say to anyone anymore. Instead, I keep my lips zipped, my heart closed, my mind quiet. Nothing good has ever come out of me begging for someone to understand how I love.

You ask, “Wanna talk about it?” And just like that I am reminded again that in such a small span of time you know me as well as anyone. We move in synchrony even without the other knowing. You know my heart.

I laughed though putting up a front as always, “Thanks for asking but maybe talk about something else?”

I hear you smile then because, like me, you will do anything to keep some kind of connection going. Then you said, “Well the buzz from the bees is that the leopards are in a bit of a spot.” You had me. I laughed so hard. You know I will quote Lion King out of no where so the idea that you did it for me seized my heart. And, just like that, things were on familiar ground.

We talked about everything then. Like old times. We talked about everything and it felt good. What project you were on. How work was going. How was Jeremy. How was your sister. When would I be visiting my mom again. When would you be heading back to Portland. It felt right. Real. Honest.

This was the reason I fell for you and the reason I now choke back tears at my mistake. It’s easy to banter with you. Easy for you to see past my flaws as I see past yours. Easy for us to talk about everything – deep and surfaced. You explain how you feel never hiding it from me, or trying to protect me. You always accept my help when things seem out of place. And I the same. Synchrony. Meshing so well it broke us apart.

When you realized the time you said you had to go. “I’ve got some work I need to do and you need your rest.”

“Do I?” I questioned.

“Stubborn as usual. Your health is most important right now.”

I knew you were right considering the circumstances. But, laughing with you again felt so good. I almost begged you not to leave. But, I was sadly reminded how differently we love. “Have fun playing with your codes.”

You laughed, “I’ll try. You gonna finish that book?”

“Of course, I’ve been promised to rest, remember?” Even then I smiled that cocky smirk you love so much. And I knew you knew because I could hear your heart catch in your throat. I miss you too, I wanted to say. But, didn’t dare.

“Call me tomorrow on your way home from work?”

“I will,” I promised. And as I was readying to hang up, “K love you k bye.” I hung up realizing what I had said. You texted me back with your heart. And just like that, those five little words explained just how familiar we are. xoxo