To Be Missing You

May 5, 2013
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Missing you could have been as simple as my looking the wrong way when you passed me on the street. I would have walked another few blocks and then stopped at the corner of Main Street with the slightest frown on my face. I would have turned to look back as you turned the corner and I would have just missed you again.

It could have been you on the answering machine, saying
“Hey, sorry I missed your call, but I’ll get back to you later, I promise.”
You missed my voice on the phone because you were busy.
But I let it go because you promised that the feeling of missing you would end soon.
I sat by the phone all night.
I missed your call when I got up to check on dinner.

To miss is to not quite hit the target, to almost get it perfect but to let that extra something run away. I could shoot a thousand bullets into the air, and ninety-nine of them would fall away into the trees, but one of them would clip the eagle’s wings. I missed the heart.

If I released the arrow and I hit the bullseye, would it be satisfying enough?

You were the one who set it up so that we would miss each other, missing me while I sat in front of you, a little girl in pink pajamas, missing the person you saw in me that you didn’t even know yet. You wrote the letter to the space that her body would fill one day, and you wrote it to that mind that would understand your words, and you missed her.

That letter in that box was me missing you, and it was my tears on your life lessons and it was missing you because it hit me that it was you missing out on everything that had happened to me.

To miss was to misunderstand, because I wound up the toy in the box and I didn’t realize that I had missed out on everything that had happened to you too.

To miss was to misplace, and I know I should have gone looking, but it got too cold out and I was late for that appointment and I thought that I had time. I misplaced the bone structure of your jaw and your nose and your feet and I know it took me ten years but when I finally went to look for them in the bathroom mirror, all I found staring back at me was my dusty, empty, ring-on-the-coffee-table self.

To miss you was to notice that everything was amiss, and that the world was full of blank spaces and girls in white dresses who gave themselves away. I noticed that I hadn’t deleted your message yet even though the machine was dusty and the message kept skipping on the word “call”.

To miss you was to notice that the candle on the mantle wasn’t glowing anymore.

To miss you was to realize that I blew the candle out.

There are people right now in hospital rooms crying because they miss someone that’s not even gone yet, not gone yet, they cry as they clutch the tissue, because the machine hasn’t flatlined, but somewhere they know that the part of their loved one that is capable of being missed is already gone, and that kind of missing is the worst kind.

Missing you, missing them, missing anyone, it’s noticing the empty spaces and trying not to look down into them, because you have to jump over them without being afraid.

I missed you like a battlefield and I missed you like a choir singing, and I missed you so much that I attacked anyone who tried to fill your blank space with pleasantries or consoling glances.

And missing you will always be noticing the empty spaces or turning my head just as you turn the corner. And sometimes I’ll cry and one day I’ll throw away the answering machine and I’ll notice the ring of dust that it left on the counter and I’ll wipe that away too. Missing you was not knowing and realizing it too late, and wanting to cry out and letting your picture fall from my hand.

Maybe someday I’ll even miss the feeling of missing you, because the feeling of missing you meant I still remembered.

Missing is always trying to shove Forgetting out the door and lock it shut.

But that’s just human.

Missing you is just human.

Missing you is just me and the empty space of you.

I miss you.

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