Sure, I need him to text me back within a day or so, but at least I don’t demand that he “respond within a reasonable four-hour period.” I might need him touching me whenever we’re close, but that doesn’t mean I require a make-out session every time. I don’t get all crazy. Well, not in the jealous, freak-out sort of way. I get more, “Where are you? Are you thinking of me? Do you miss me?”
A few years ago, when I was dating Eric, the skinny, blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy of my dreams, we were skypeing across the distance of our 2,500-mile ocean of plainslands—he in Utah, I in Massachusetts; he in the land of Mormons, and I in the land of Catholics. We skyped nightly for hours at a time. One night we spent a thrilling five-hour session staring longingly into one another’s eyes. I professed my love, and he smiled back sheepishly with no response.
He was absorbed in graduate school, and I was waitressing part time and thinking about our future together. We’d met swing dancing in a rural town in Idaho, and spent many nights together months later—we crashed a frat party, went to a goth club, and made the best chicken pot pie of my life.
One day I wrote out a list of goals for myself. I wrote “Masters in English,” and “Write for money,” and “Move to the west.” And near the bottom I listed my long-term goals. I showed this list to Eric one night, and ran my finger down the page as he read. When he saw what I’d written, I swear he might have soiled himself, because the face he made was one that made me think I might never see him again. At the bottom I had written: “Marry Eric.”
I tore up the sheet to assuage his terror, but it did no good. Our Skype sessions didn’t last long after that. Maybe it’s like with my cat Gilgamesh: if I hug him a little, he loves me, but as soon as he’s ready to get down he’ll squirm and scratch and eventually, he’ll get away.