Wishes and Shooting Stars
Through Death and Through Life
Long distance relationships can be tough, especially while fighting for mutant equality.
Jean has a thing she tells people about me (usually when I’m failing miserably at some basic form of everyday human interaction).
“Scott is horrible at feelings; but he’s the absolute best at doing something about them”.
I never feel that assessment more acutely than when I’m staring at her through a computer screen. I know I can have the jet in the air in ten minutes. I can tell you down to the minute how long my flight time would be to get to her, anywhere in the world. But just sitting here, staring into her face as she tells me about everything she’s going through – everything she’s struggling with on behalf of us all, but out there all on her own, facing down hate and prejudice, making alliances and trying to outwit the politicians at their own games of political theater – at the end of the day, when she lets down her guard enough to let herself feel frustrated and exhausted by the political process and to wonder out loud if anything she’s doing in the outside world is half as effective as what she could be doing if she was here, home, at the school, with me.... I don’t know what to say, and I can’t even reach out to hold her damn hand in a show of comfort and reassurance. It’s excruciating.
If she was with me I’d hug her.
If I was there with her I’d slip my arm around her shoulders, stroke her hair, whisper reassurances in her ear until I could draw out a smile, or suggest some outlandish proposal that was sure to make her laugh (my personal favorite is punching Senator Kelly in the mouth... with an optic blast). But I’m no good at making idle conversation, especially once we slip past facts. I can advise her on strategy, help research which senators have voted favorably for our causes before and which ones might be swayed to support us now. But at some point all the practical matters have been addressed and what I’m left with are emotions: her feeling drained, and me feeling helpless.
I stare at her image on the computer screen, just soaking in her presence – beauty and strength, wisdom and warmth – like feeling a much-welcome ray of sunlight on my face. Missing the uncanny way we balance each other out, different but the same, like sunrise and sunset. And agonizing over the maddening distance that continues to separate us, like the darkness of a long night.
Words are hard for me; actions are easier. She often teases me that I speak more effectively in body language than I ever do in words, and I know she’s right about that. I don’t mind that particular shortcoming; I’ve always been more comfortable letting my actions speak for me. In private moments, she’ll tell me that she loves that about me, and misses that when we’re apart.... But times like this, I hate that I don’t have words to reassure her.
I can remind her that the work she’s doing is vital and important– but she already knows that or she wouldn’t be there in the first pace. It’s not hard for me to grasp that what she’s really missing is us. I’m missing that too. The support structure that builds when you love someone, day after day and year after year, the sense of teamwork that becomes a part of your daily life in a million different ways. After so many years of friendship, partnership, and a love deeper than anything I could have imagined feeling before she loved me – after a few years, some couples start to complete each other’s sentences – Jean and I have our own language. And I’ve become ever more reliant on the psychic link that allows me to bypass words altogether when the two of us are close, when I can feel her and she can feel me.
Times like this, I realize Jean has become dependent on that too. She says that for a telepath the feel of a safe and familiar mind is like a living security blanket that you can wrap yourself up in. That analogy makes me smile. I get that; it’s the same way I feel when I’m holding on to her. All the tactile sensations and the comfort of having her close to me, safe with me– it’s enough to block out my worries and make me feel like there’s nothing else in the world but the two of us... at least for a little while.
And if I’m honest with myself, that’s the same reason I first agreed to let her establish this psychic link between us. I wanted that, I wanted a piece of her that was with me all the time. I didn’t want us to ever be separate from each other... and yet here we are.
I’m always aware of her through the link; if Jean was in trouble, or if she needed to communicate a warning to me, I’d know it instantly. That much is a constant reassurance to me. But the link is a product of Jean’s telepathy and her telepathy is at least somewhat limited by time and distance and by her own concentration level. If her need to communicate her thoughts and emotions, or the situation around her, back to me isn’t urgent then the link becomes kinda like a fuzzy radio station, fading off into static as her thoughts and emotions slip farther away into the distance....
I could have the jet on the ground in DC in less time than it would take to get the damn thing prepped for flight... but I can’t fly down to DC every night just because I need to hug the love of my life. So I go back to discussing votes and strategy until she stops me and sighs, tells me she loves me and could listen to my voice all night... but she has to get some sleep, and so do I.
I smile and say the words back to her. It feels good to say them, but even ‘I love yous’ feel a little hollow without the warm rush of feelings I know rightly accompanies them... but tonight all we have is words. So I say them, all the familiar promises: how much I love her, how soon we’ll be together again. She blushes when I insinuate something a little more intimate than goodnights exchanged across a computer screen waiting for her return home... a chance to properly celebrate our reunion. And the fact that my guarded insinuations about our love life can still make her blush, after all the years we’ve been together, makes both of us laugh. God, I love her.
She ends the conversation the same way she always does. One word: Soon.
I repeat it back to her, and she touches her fingers to her lips to give me a goodnight kiss.... I smile as we whisper the last of our ‘goodnights’.
And then the screen goes dark. The woman I love, the light of my life, my heart and soul, is gone for the space of what is sure to be another fitfully long night without her.
So Let it Be Written Publishing © 2004