I start avoiding Mr. Faraway, not checking Facebook, ignoring my phone. I want to think, and it’s too hard with the endless flow of information coming my way, so I start to block it all out and discover a funny thing: I don’t miss any of it. I start to notice things things around me, remember details, and life seems manageable again. I enjoy the sensation. I call the cable company, disconnect the service, return the box and its endless whirring hum, and savor the suddenly quiet family room.
It’s so quiet, I can think.
I think I should break up with him, but of course, it’s not a good time: My birthday is coming, and he has plans for that, and I’ve bought him a ticket to attend a charity auction with me, and he’s coming to that, too. I should be looking forward to both, but instead, I’m anxious. He’s made plans and probably bought gifts and no matter what they are, if I see him, it will be there, looming – the thing I need to say, the thing he probably knows I’m going to say even if he won’t admit it or bring it up himself.
He calls daily; I mute my phone, but by the end of the week, I finally listen to one of the messages. I’m starting to think there’s something wrong with your phone, he says, and once I hear it, I know that there is never a good time for some things. So I simply try to avoid disrupting his workweek and send him a carefully composed email on a Friday night. The distance is too great, I tell him, and it isn’t geographic.
The problem isn’t that he’s far away; it’s that he’ll never be any closer.