Living apart this summer, Mike and I are learning how to experience the presence of one another without physical contact. Luckily for us, our access to technology and the internet means we have an abundance of ways to do so.
The first step was settling into a new rhythm of when we would consistently see each other. This gives us the presence of each other in our lifestyle, where our interactions aren’t an effort but seamlessly integrated into our days, much like the expectation of spending time together after returning home from work/school each day.
We still play the same roles in each other’s lives, including comfort and support, like when Mike ordered sushi delivery for me after a long and stressful day at work.
Being present doesn’t require constant or direct conversation. Often more profound is sharing an experience, even something as simple as videochatting while Mike marks student’s assignments and I play Zelda for the hundredth time. What we desire is the living potential for connection. This isn’t found in the rigidity of a lengthy and structured conversation, but in non sequiturs and interjections, allowing thoughts to be shared as they naturally unfold and silences to remain comfortable.
There are also shared experiences while we aren’t connected. We may sleep apart, but we can still dream together. Each night before going to sleep we ask each other, “So where are we going tonight?” We’ve been to almost a hundred new places, with just shy of a week remaining until this chapter comes to a close. Soon we can share our experiences and our space together again.