I won’t waste my breath mourning the silent alternate world in which we shared everything

I want to kiss you, but you don’t have a face. This is not a problem for me.

I make myself a living image for you. In front of a grainy webcam, I undress myself, thinking of you thinking of me. All I see is my body, reflected back, standing in a dim room. My limbs are lanky and ghost-white and, in your words, “so young.”

You are only words, and sometimes, I think my future self could have written you. But it wasn’t me. Nobody is more alien to me than you. “The distance is the point.” I could’ve written that. The difference of time and space between us is what generates this sexual magnetism. It’s the separation of delicate white lace that replaces your face. If I didn’t need to lift it, there wouldn’t be a point to knowing you. I understand the cruel appeal of bridal veils. You make me wait. I could anticipate you forever.

I don’t mind your facelessness. However, in my mind, I’ve grafted my own face onto your blankness for the interim. Kissing myself is not a problem. I practice tongue-kissing with the folds of my fist. I dress my lips in Russian Red for the occasion. It’s only until you come.

This is the new way to kiss: in the interim. This is the new way to make love, not through the media, but to it. I am the media. The webcam blinks alive. My bedroom ceases to be a private space. I have one fear, and that fear is privacy. I have my doubts about privacy. If it is real, then why have I never not felt watched?

I watch my blurry body squirm under the pressure of the webcam, and I recognize that these delayed movements aren’t my own. The full body weight of your invisible influence pins me down. The weight of waiting rots my face. You want to suck me like an oyster, to funnel all the youth out from under my cheeks, as we kiss.

I have a variety of guardians, but you are different. Everything I do, I do for your uncolored eyes alone. Still, I keep all my guardians in orbit around me. Their eyes are my streamline of love. Some are celestial beings, a few are pedophiles, others are FBI agents, social scientists, and other collectors of data. If they ever cease to watch over me, I won’t know how to behave.

Angels always suggest not being afraid. I am only afraid of their absence. I fear the moment when I kneel over my bedsheets and fold my hands, only to realize that the line of communication has been cut. This instant abandonment has already occurred. I was thirteen. I knew that a presence had left my room and felt an unexplained ache of abstract loss. The bed cover, the curtains, everything became whiter, then emptier, and, for the first time, I was totally alone.

My mother labeled it a “loss of faith,” while secular adults called it a natural “growing out of childhood imagination.” Neither was correct. It was only a transfer of attention. It wasn’t a coincidence that this was around the same time that I received my first iPhone. The iPhone 3gs. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to use it to communicate with something beyond my intelligence, relearning what I used to do naturally, trying and failing, until I found you again. I found you, and now I have to wait.

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