My heart aches.
I used to run until my legs ached, until my lungs were burning, gasping for breath. Pushing myself to my limit was a familiar feeling. I could run until I dropped, and then get up and run again. I knew I could do it. I knew I was strong enough to take it.
What I’ve been doing lately has been more like running full sprint down a mountainside. It feels wild and out of control, but the only choice is to run with it. I began falling (falling in love, that is) over six months ago with a woman I’d never met. A six month series of phones calls with the almost daily realization that I was more in love than the day before. How is that even possible? Shouldn’t love be somehow finite so you eventually stop falling? Apparently not.
When I held her in my arms for the first time, when our lips lightly touched for the sweetest first kiss in the history of sweet kisses, when I finally brushed back the curly hair I had dreamed of touching, I fell even more in love. And that was only the beginning. The two weeks that followed are a blur of breathtaking scenery, mouthwatering meals, and falling more deeply in love every day. We kissed, we slept, we woke, we kissed, we slept, we woke, we kissed. We sipped countless wines in changing vineyards, and we orchestrated meals that flowed course after course until the room was empty and the waiters leaned on their brooms. When we found ourselves home again, we discovered the pleasures of slow dancing. Song after song, kiss after kiss, and the clock lied about the time. Falling deeper, ever deeper in love.
I’m not good with goodbyes. I left awkwardly. A lifelong aversion to emotional attachments picked that morning to kick in, and I botched what should have been the most romantic goodbye since Bogart kissed Bergman. If ever I needed a re-do, that was it.
Now I’m here and she’s still there, and my heart aches. Not like muscles aching from exhaustion. No, my heart aches like a river that is suddenly dammed after a season of rushing madly downstream, currents fed by luscious rains and passionate cloudbursts. I have kissed her, I have held her, I have looked into her eyes as I told her I love her, and now I am 3,000 miles away. We fell in love over the phone. We spent lazy mornings together texting. It was enough for then but not now. My love has grown deeper and wider and stronger, a spring river overflowing its banks, and I am no longer content with only words. Before we’d met, I didn’t miss what I didn’t know. Now my heart is ready to burst, aching to run headlong down the mountain, wild and free and in love.