The gratitude monologues – 600 miles of conversation


Tim Hargis

This is me and my cousin back when we would make various menus for imaginary customers and tell each other silly dreams.

I can’t remember a time in our lives when we weren’t attached at the hip.

When we were young, we would play “restaurant” with imaginary food and guests—unless our family was willing to indulge in our antics. We would spend hours beforehand creating menus; we put in strenuous research on what we thought our imaginary guests would fancy the most.

Our aunt would cut our hair whenever we were visiting together. We would take turns sitting on the kitchen table while she gave us a trim after our baths, and then we would go back to the playroom where we would play “school.”

Our time in the pool was my favorite. We would only play “mermaids” on occasion, as most of our time was spent doing different jumps into the pool and having our family rate us on a scale from one to ten. We would also use tiny foam boogie boards as surfboards and attempt to stand on them—we were seldom successful. 

It didn’t take much convincing to our parents to let us have sleepovers—to my recollection, it was their idea. We spent each night staying up catching each other up on life. While we still make an effort to do this every time I come to visit, our nighttime chats have shifted from silly crushes and weird dreams to talks about the future and updates on our friends at school.

We are still as attached to the hip as I can remember from when we were younger, except now, it’s harder. We’re even farther apart now than ever.

I miss you more than the paragraphs I send to you can portray.

I didn’t think that you being 600 miles away rather than 400 would make much of a difference—it was still far. But I’ve missed you more than I have in the past, and I know that the feeling is mutual.

Recently, we have been closer than ever, despite the long distance. And though we cannot have our late-night conversations in person, we make do with what we have.

The weight on my shoulders immediately lifts after I see a text from you. While others may see this as a common action and brush it off, I know that your texts are filled with meaningful words and stories that warm my chest and allow for a wide grin to spread across my face. 

We send each other paragraphs upon paragraphs updating each other on our chaotic lives that tend to evolve every waking moment. You tell me about college and I tell you about junior year. I tell you about college tours I’ve been on and my thoughts about the campus and you tell me about your experience choosing a school. We both talk about who is going to visit when, and the agony that lingers around the subject. 

Before we had this, I didn’t know how to let out the stress and build-up of emotions that follow me throughout my day. Now, without hesitation, I go to you, because you always know what to say—you always have the right words. You always have, now that I think about it. I just never appreciated it until now. 

I miss you more than the paragraphs I send to you can portray. I miss playing Uno together in the pool and getting our nails done together, even though it always ends badly for at least one of us. I miss your hugs and the plans we make for the future.

Most of all, I miss listening to you speak words that I will never forget, but for now, paragraphs within a gray bubble will suffice.