We are separated by two oceans, one continent, and some 7552.8 miles– but who’s counting? It’s not so much the miles as the hours we are keeping that get me– this semi-circle of time that we are traveling a half a day apart; 12 lonesome hours.
I spend your days in slumber, rolling back and forth across my too-large bed. I spend your nights in work. Absentmindedly climbing ladderwells to places that I never intended to go and skulking down passageways, meeting people that I have no desire to meet. I spend most of my day nodding “uh-huh” and only half-listening to the people in this time zone—one ear attuned to whatever it is that you dream about.
I imagine the things you do in the future while I am preparing for bed. The early morning shave. The tie. Do you wear cologne? I spend your yesterdays googling things to say to you Auf Deutsch. Sometimes I play a game where I try not to look at my watch (original, I know). I try not to count down the hours until your alarm will ring you awake and you will call me to say in your sleepy, sing-song voice “gut morgen!.” If I am good at this game, an hour will pass, and if I am bad (and I am always bad) only three minutes.
I mostly spend the long 8 hours that you sleep– the in-between time– thinking of all the things I’d like to tell you. The things I’d like to know about you. Not big things mind you—nothing monumental or life-altering. No professions or declarations of that word that we are nowhere near saying. Just slivers of things: Like when did you ride a bike without training wheels for the first time? and what comes to mind when I say “burn of the Universe?”, do you know that I want to move to Italy next? or what’s it like to be a twin? (though I already know the answer to that one). Sometimes I make a list:
Things to talk to You about:
□ Cutting my hair
□ Your favorite places in Stuttgart
□ The crazy thing that happened at work today
□ Are we really doing this? (and, if so) what are we doing?
We are novices at time travel so I don’t actually get to say any of these things to you. During the week, we talk in spurts. Short, bright, sprints of “Hi! how was your day? What are you doing??,” verbally colliding as we try to get better acquainted before you reach the dry cleaners, or I have to make duty section turnover or one of us has to go to bed—always this slumber that interrupts us. To what does it portend that one of us is always sleeping?
But there are lives to be lived in our respective time periods; family and friends to keep up with. There is salsa to be danced, work to be had, and unpronounceable German things that you must do. There is a sweet spot, however in this time traveling dance of ours–an intersection of our Venn diagram lives:
This brief wormhole where I stay up later or you wake up earlier and there is no need to go to the gym or salsa. We Face Time or Skype during this short portal and it is in these oh-so-sweet 20 minutes that I regret not learning German. Because I can’t seem to translate the thought that flickers fast across your face when you see me in the same time zone. A fleeting something that makes me want to become an expert in the time-space continuum and hop a Delorean to ask you to ubersetzen.