Sometimes I wonder who I am chatting to really when I message or e-mail him, physically all I can see are the words we send to each other as we have the electronic conversation; it's attenuated nature is not immediately obvious as my mind fills in the gaps of a missing voice and tone, face and body, shared and separated histories.
The words jump from the screen direct to the brain, and I interpret the simple facts of the communication with him, decorating them with the smiles and laughter, touches and tears that we used to share; although sometimes the words carry out a bypass operation and head direct to my stomach.
I type at my keyboard picturing him at his, concentrating on what I have said, and choosing the words to send back to me; I tease my words into a shape I know will tease him, but not too much, the situation demands that I hold something of myself back until he changes his mind and comes to be with me again.
I use the words to bring, bit by bit, the desired result closer, subtle reminders of what he is missing, some not so subtle remarks as to what I miss, I am playful as I build up an edifice of memory and longing and closeness; looking to evoke a yearning nostalgia that can be uncorked to fizz and be joyful again.
He writes "Talking to you makes me have thoughts, but whereas before I would let those thoughts lead me they don’t now!" and my gut curdles as I digest the realisation that thinking about me has lost the power to move him the way it used to.
And with that I realise, the words I see from him are filled with a backwash of emotions that I provided for myself; he sees just my words.