My lover lives in Ireland.
This morning, I prepare a fresh, green juice. Cilantro, cucumber, apple, celery, peppers, and a bit of lemon.
After dropping thumb-sized chunks into the black, whirring machine, a thick liquid emerges from a silver spout.
One of the final steps is to remove the excess pulp by hand. With a small wire strainer, my breakfast streams lusciously into a tall Mason jar. The juice is silky, aromatic, and the brightest of green. I don’t yet know how it will taste; I’ve never tried this combination.
Seconds later, seated on my favorite blue couch, a pillow across my lap for a kind of lazy-morning comfort, my head tilts back to receive the verdant drink.
So this is how it is.
My lover lives in Ireland. He seems quite delicious. His eyes are on the computer screen; everywhere.
And yet I don’t know.
When I was a girl, my mother and father would play Irish records, especially near Christmastime, and especially when they were happy. I grew up with the fiddle, flute, bagpipes, broadcasting the silent yet palpable message: We are sometimes happy here.
My lover lives in Ireland. He has no body. We are together, and yet we are a floating atomless mist. An everywhere.
Once, long ago, I told my mother: I will fall in love with an Irishman.
My lover and I use the phone; we mail letters. We send “psychic packages” to test and expand our intuition. (He guesses what I’m thinking at two o’clock; I guess what he’s thinking at three o’clock.) We schedule video calls. We see each other’s face. We watch mouths move. My lover lives in Ireland.
I was writing a book about love, and he offered to read a draft. Flipping pages faster and faster he had said to himself, Oh—her!
Now he recites poems to me, in the sexy, subtle accent of one who has also lived in America. Voice-to-voice, over the phone, or recorded onto messages while I slumber. Irish poems I don’t know by Patrick Kavanagh. Poems we both know: Dickinson and Yeats…
When I told him I loved him, it was in a dizzy breathless way. Girlish. A flabbergasted release. Almost a tizzy. Then, an endless pause.
We made love on the phone that night. When it was over, neither of us wanting to hang up, something like 3am in his corner of the world, I felt a place unfurl inside my chest.
What came next was a surprising and distinct flash of pain. It was a piercing: as if a small sewing needle pulled the thread of him through me—once, twice. I inhaled sharply, and then it was over.
Pulling my hands up from my wet, joyous thighs, I began to tap my fingers to my breastbone. Morse code, morse code. I have a lover in Ireland; I have a lover in Ireland; I have a lover in Ireland I tapped…for the first time strangely panicked; for the first time, believing it to be true.