When the lights came back on, I was in the only car stationed in Newark Airport’s short-term parking lot, sitting beside myself—a self from three years ago desperately trying to grip overflowing emotions as tight as she was gripping the steering wheel with one hand while the other was reaching for me in the passenger side.
I found myself in a four-wheeled coffin in a paved graveyard—that’s what airport parking lots will always be to me. I’ll never forget sitting there, in the company of lone headstones carved from memories. I’ll never forget sitting there, holding out my hand towards the passenger side, hoping Annie’s hand would become entwined with mine once more, entwined like our bodies were for five nights in a hotel room with the lights on so I could admire every detail of her beauty.
My past self was reaching out her hand towards the seat that belonged to Annie during the hours we spent driving around, talking and laughing and kissing at red lights and stop signs. My past self was reaching out and holding on to nothing but memories. Those memories played in her head like a song on loop, volume maxed to drown out the monstrous roar of Distance regaining his power accompanied by the heartbreaking sight of Annie’s departure overhead.
“Two months.” That’s what Annie had said at the end of our six-day vacation. “Just two months and we’ll finally move in together. We’ll make it happen. I promise.” She was right. All that did come to pass. But so did she.
Staring at my past self, I wished I could hold her in my arms. But I couldn’t. I had no arms. I wished I could rest her head on my lap. But I couldn’t. I had no legs. I wished I could tell her that in two months, the most amazing three years of our lives would begin. But I couldn’t. I had no mouth.