Words by Nina Phillips
Feature image by Lauren Rawlings
I’ll see you in August, you whispered. Like cigarette smoke, those five words seeped into my skin and hair follicles. As I boarded my flight home, the words trickled into my bloodstream and lingered within me for weeks.
I’ll. See. You. In. August.
Strapped into an aisle seat, I did not notice as the world beyond my window trembled. Perhaps, if I had noted this tremor, I’d have realised I would soon be barred from returning to you, indefinitely.
Now, we exist 13,000 kilometres apart. A wall of glass divides us and only echoes of ourselves can visit each other. August is no longer a few months away. Our August could be in October or December or a year and a half from now. Our August is as postponed as a birthday party in April.
Tonight, we talk through a screen till you fall asleep. You lie on your back like always, a smile playing upon your lips, so still you could be a painting. Dreaming Boy Bathed in Blue. I reach toward you in hopes you’ll fold into my arms like a sun-soaked blanket.
I know, paintings are not to be touched.
I know, even if one is to touch a painting, a painting cannot feel one’s caress, especially, when locked in a case.
And yet, as the evening fades from gold to grey, I stretch my fingers into nothingness certain it’s the same nothingness that envelops you. My chest tightens and I close my eyes. Visions of an embrace that transcends time and space flood my mind and empty sheets. Limbs tangled, hearts pounding; our bodies nestle into each other. Your breath, warm and wistful, dances through my hair as you whisper a promise in five words. And August doesn’t feel so far away.
This piece was originally published in Edition 34 of Verse. View it in its original PDF form via ISSUU.