I’m not talking about the “not having a good Wifi connection or being too busy to talk during the day” kind of gone. I am talking rehab, emotional therapy or insane asylum, spirit journey, thirty days of basic non-existence. They are completely off the map, aside from the periodic privilege that comes in the form of a 10-minute phone call. In 2015 (the age in which we can call, text, video chat or use any direct form of contact to touch base with our favorite person whenever we feel like it) this is not easy adjustment.
The person I chose to do life with is a heroin addict. He is in a top-rated inpatient rehab program trying to kick the drug once and for all. I am fully on board with it. What I am not on board with is the full calendar month of days where I have been subjected to all these feelings on account of his drug addiction. Before he left I thought a month was nothing. When the first day without him felt like the full month I knew I was in for a long four weeks. This is my selfish but true outlook on being on the outside while your partner spends 30 days on the inside. Absence makes the heart grow fonder or go insane, possibly both at once.
1. Whatever shows you are used to watching together, you will refuse to watch alone.
You didn’t have this discussion before their departure. You simply will not feel the desire to break the unspoken rule that says we can only watch ‘New Girl’ together.
2. You come to realize that you don’t even know how to do certain crucial things around the house.
How many cups of water do I need to make enough coffee for one and it still taste normal? What day does the trash run? You never knew you would need to know. You come to realize they are actually pretty useful and you need them to come back immediately.
3. Once you figure out how to make coffee, coffee becomes a meal option.
The thought process that there is no one to eat with so I will just make more coffee is a thing. Coffee with cream and sugar for breakfast and coffee with cream for dinner; that’s what I always say and by always I mean always this month.
4. You will obsess over the calendar and marking through days.
You may have three active advent calendars going before all is said and done. You do this marking in the morning before you start the coffee. Once there is an actual X on the calendar you consider it another day down. On your most desperate days you can rattle off exactly how many hours until they get come home.
5. You talk to the imaginary them that is not home because it makes you feel physically better.
You will talk out loud to them, tell them about your day and ask them questions that will go indefinitely unanswered. What do you want to watch on Netflix? You pick babe. No, you.
6. You will start trying to re-establish relationships with all the people you disconnected with the day you met your significant other.
You start sending these random ‘we should catch up’ texts to people who thought there was a strong chance you had ran away and joined a circus based on the fact that you hadn’t reached out in so long. At these catch-up sessions you have to actively try and not talk too much about them so that your friend doesn’t realize that they wouldn’t be having this coffee date with you if they were around.
7. You stare at your phone more than you did previously, which was already a ton.
You have to constantly ensure that the volume is on the loudest possible setting. Your life revolves around these phone calls that may or may not come.You cannot simply leave your phone in another room, or on silent. You will not miss a call that you cannot return. It’s a one-way phone and you will live this month at the mercy of it. You can’t go anywhere that your cell phone signal may be compromised. If you miss a call you will be taken over by guilt.
8. You talk about them to everyone who knows about their absence and inform everyone who doesn’t.
Your friends/family/co-workers will want them to come home more than you do if it means that you will stop obsessing over how much they are missed. Regardless you will find a way to work them into every conversation, keeping their existence alive in your own wild way.
9. You start to forget everything they ever did wrong to you and only remember them as a perfect human.
It intrigues you that your recollection of the relationship is so different without them around to prove otherwise. Basically any negative memory of them has been temporarily banished from your mind.
10. You stare at photos and videos of them until those are eternally burnt into your memory.
You will sit and stare at their face in photos, the ones you never gave a second look at before because you had the pleasure at staring at the real them. You took that privilege for granted, that won’t happen again you will tell yourself. How many times can you replay the three second video they sent you saying that, ‘You look beautiful everyday’, 100 times a day if you want to and you will want to.
11. You will fully commit to missing them from the moment they walk out of your sight.
Even writing this list is a sick attempt to win the ‘I miss them the most’ (in which I am the sole player). An unhealthy obsession is being formed day-by-day, one that wasn’t there when he was present. Certainly you will go back to normal when he comes home. For now you are obsessed with finding new ways to survive without them.
12. You will do (or at least plan to do) many self-help activities early on.
Most notably you are going to get back to the gym and be toned by the time they return. The end of the month comes close and you haven’t so much as driven past the gym. You have yet to read that ‘Loving an addict’ book you promised you would have finished by day 30. You will likely do many things just nothing that you set out to do the day they left.
13. You will constantly be adding to your mental note about all the cool things you’re going to do together when you’re reunited.
Also you will constantly keep a running list of things to mention to them when they call. Without fail you suddenly forget all of it the moment you hear their voice. Constantly jumping back and forth repeating the phrases ‘I love you’ and ‘I miss you’ until their phone time is up, you can’t ever say it enough during this restricted speaking schedule.
14. You will listen to music, a little too much because, the silence.
Music while you cook, music while you get ready, all an attempt to drown out the never-ending silence. On your best days you can manage to turn up Justin Bieber’s new album. Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour is for reserved for the harder days. At some point you may even start listening to songs that were written about people dying, completely ignoring that it is just one month of being apart, not eternity. You’re going crazy without them and you wouldn’t have it any other way.
15. You will always be reminding yourself that at the end of the month, the payoff will be great enough to make you about forget the month you were forced into solitude.
This will be behind me you tell yourself. Life will go back to normal, probably better than ever, or at least you hope. Hope is all you have. You will hopefully never have to suffer through another full day apart.