He wrote me two weeks ago, asking how I was. I wrote back and told him about the rash I'd been having. Yeah, he wrote. About that? The rash is your body telling you how much you miss me. It will never go away.
I wrote back that I was pretty sure he was right.
I really miss you too, he replied.
Spencer and I have kept in touch since I moved. I comment on his Facebook status changes. He pipes up on my page, on occasion. We've swapped text messages. But the contact has always been brief.
After this short exchange, though, I had to sit down. It took me back to last winter, when Spencer and I were everything to each other, for a time. It reminded me so strongly of how good it felt, and how lucky I was to have that remarkable young man in my life.
It was nice to be missed.
I see Spencer everywhere I turn, some days. I see him in the pages of Time Out, when I look at the dance section. I think of him when I hear Tchaikovsky, or one of the tunes to which he introduced me plays on my computer. I think of him in the evenings, when I arrange the pillows on the bed and remember how he had to have four of them to get through the night.
I think of him sometimes when I run across a bottle of his face wash that somehow came with us. It sits in the cupboard beneath the sink, and every now and then I'll unscrew the cap and inhale, just to smell the phantom of him.
You don't forget someone overnight, simply because they no longer live close. Spencer was a very good man, and a very bright spot during a lonely time of my life.
Over the weekend I was thinking of the nights we spent on my sofa, limbs intertwined, his head on my thigh, my fingers stroking his hair, as we would watch television together. In Manhattan I'd seen an action figure from one of the animes we'd watched together. A couple of jumps in Amazon, and I'd selected an adorable chibi-style stuffed toy based on the same anime, which I shipped to his home.
Because I think he wants to be missed, too.