We’d share a call and response every night, phones pressed between cheek and pillow 20.7 miles away. It was an incantation lulling lovers to pass from one consciousness to another. Your voice digitized, reflecting off faux pine towers or maybe even orbiting satellites, reached me through technologies I’d never appreciate or understand.
But now, I’ve forgotten the words we’d sleep to even though they’d been repeated over two thousand continuous nights. I’ve forgotten how you’d nodded off the first time we’d talked on the phone and how I’d dialed digits so the tones would wake you. I’ve forgotten the time exhaustion took us, and we’d attempt to speed through our lullaby until we realized it had no power unless spoken with sincerity and purpose. And I’ve forgotten the nights there was no need for a call because you’d be with me, skin touching skin and our energies sparking. We’d still whisper the same words as we would on the phone, nuzzling and chuckling as we’d fade from existence.
I’ve forgotten how to sleep without you. It’s been 433 days and I’ve forgotten everything. How do memories streak like water on a canvas, diluting vibrant colors to muddy browns and grays? How will the drum and hammer of my ear never mimic the pitch and tone of your synthesized voice? How will the curves from the waves of your words never penetrate me again?
I’d pray to you if I could, kneeling at the side of my bed with fingers clenching into fists. Despite it all, I’ve never forgotten how to pray. To you, I’d pray the usual things: to hear your voice, to know you’re there, and to hope that I’d see you someday. I’d lay prostrate as I pray to you, insomnia vibrating me awake. I’d pray to you as I held the braided leather bracelet you gave me, starting again over each knot, finally ending on the shark’s sawed tooth. But such prayers would be left unanswered, such prayers are forgotten like gasps for air, such prayers have no power when they fall on disconnected ears.