We never really needed words, the two of us. It almost seemed like language was a bridge, some clunky, synthetic apparatus to span the gap between two people when they didn't understand each other as well as we could. With others words were a necessary artifice, a way to connect two far off, separate minds, but between us they were always next to useless.
Even so, even though the voice was not hers, I knew what was coming. I was crying before the sentence was finished, tears running down my cheeks to streak the plastic surface of my cell phone, one hand pressed to my mouth so I wouldn't sob into the receiver. She was going to be okay, the voice on the other end of the line, a continent away, stressed again and again, but somehow the words were scant comfort.
It is a strange feeling for me to be homesick, because down at the bottom of it all I do not miss people. I packed up my things and went off to college and never once missed the friends and family who went from constant fixtures to transient beings, slipping in and out of my life once or twice a year around the holidays. I never missed parents or friends, never missed my old school or my old teachers, never missed anything about my old life, but now, more than anything, I want to go home. I want to sit at my best friend's bedside and breathe in the stale, disinfectant-tinged hospital air and say nothing at all, just remember everything we've been through since we met one cool August morning in our little first grade class.
But I am here, and she is there, and all I can do is hope for the best as countless memories crowd my mind—the first day of school in fifth grade when we accidentally wore the same dress and the teacher thought there was only one of us, the ferry trip into the city freshmen year when we drank scalding hot chocolate and stared at each other across the aisles until we burst out laughing, the way she simply sat next to me in silence after I broke up with my boyfriend, because she knew exactly what to say, but didn't need to say it.
But here I am, and there she is, with three thousand miles of waving, golden grain and black-paved road between us, and I can only hope that, just like always, she knows the words without me.