From A to Zoe: Gone girlfriend

Gone Girlfriend

photo by L. Bost


There is something motivating about scarcity that compels us to seek out that which is missing. When we can’t have something, we want it — badly — now!

It’s not unusual to voluntarily remove something from our lives: a bad habit, a toxic relationship, a boring job, or for the sake of discussion—potato chips. When we change our diet, we become obsessed with the item we intentionally remove. It was our choice, yet suddenly, nothing would be better than eating potato chips. In our minds, we tell ourselves we don’t want potato chips. We weren’t thinking of potato chips, and in fact we don’t eat them all that often, but now that we cannot have potato chips, nothing else will do! We must have potato chips! Now!

And so it is with me and my GF, who is off in Hawaii with a long-time friend of hers on a little vacay. “Great! Go,” I said. “Have a good time with your friend.” I could have gone, but I’ve been to the Big Island twice and I already have travel plans with my GF for later in the year. They left a few days ago and now that’s she’s gone…

Now! I have to hear from her now! I am checking for texts. I am checking on Facebook for messages. I am checking my e-mail for little notes about where they went and what they had for dinner. I’m trying to get on with my day, but really, I’m thinking about her. I’m not writing, or at least not focused on my writing, because I’m imagining her at that snorkel spot I mentioned, or perhaps she’s taken a side trip to the old church. Yes, she sent me a couple of pics of the view from their room and another of her having a drink near the beach. I’m stuffing these images into my head faster than a handful of forbidden, deliciously salty, chips. They’re not enough. I need more.

The thing is, we talk or e-mail a few times during the week and rarely see one another on weekday evenings. She works. I work. Our face-to-face girlfriend time is on the weekends. We get together on Friday night and spend a blissful weekend together before going our separate ways. Nothing’s changed. I saw her on the weekend, she left for Hawaii. I’ll see her the following weekend. No matter. She’s not here and like the diet example, all I can think about are the potato chips I can’t have. It is irrelevant that our normal contact hasn’t changed. She’s thousands of miles away, not ten minutes away. There’s something about the scarcity of her presence that makes me miss her more than I could have imagined. I want what I can’t have—now!

We exchanged a few brief messages and spoke on the phone. I heard about the first half of her trip. Things are going well, the weather is good, an excursion to Hilo and a side trip to Volcanoes National Park are coming up. Everything’s fine. Right?

I cheer myself that I will hear more stories when she returns. I believe it’s important to have a life outside our relationship and I like hearing about things she’s done on her own. It will be great to see her. She’ll be a bit tan and the smell of coconut shampoo will linger in her hair. We’ll grind up the Kona coffee beans she will surely buy and as we sip our drinks, she’ll tell me about the pretty yellow tangs and parrot fish that swam near the multi-colored coral. As she speaks, I’ll devour each word until the false sense of scarcity fades while savoring the little details that add flavor and depth to her experience. When I’ve had my fill, I’ll remember the refrain from this Dan Hicks song for the next time she takes a vacation without me:

How can I miss you when you won’t go away?
Keep telling you day after day.
But you won’t listen, you always stay and stay.
How can I miss you when you won’t go away?

Zoe Amos brings her lesbian point of view to articles and stories on diverse topics. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. Read her stories on Kindle and Nook. Check out her other life at

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