They were creatures of fantastical habit, so in a sense living at a distance from each other came as no impediment. What they dreamed up and imagined was as real to them as any hard and fast reality, as real even as is the most perfectly rendered fictional universe to an avid reader; and in the stretched out moments of its execution, its afterglow, as charged and as beautiful.
He travelled back in time to the whole day and night that they had spent together, remotely, and wondered if she ever cast her mind back that way, or was involuntarily taken there by some reminder of the day – shopping for the noodles that she herself no longer ate, perhaps. He had been with her as usual at work, and then when she got home they cooked together, their respective variations on the same dish in their respective kitchens. They compared onion-chopping techniques and she commented on how large his chunks of courgette were, in comparison to her finer slicing, and when it came to the eating, they did indeed prove too much of a mouthful.
They drank as they cooked and talked of food, she Prosecco, he a white Marlborough, and ate in front of their respective fires, hers real, his gas, relishing not only the food but what was to come, with an anticipation that seemed to melt at the same time as it was rigidly defined.
Once the plates were set aside, they moved languidly from talking about how someone really needed to invent a viable teleportation process to making love the way they loved to make it. And then they took themselves and their respective laptops to bed, and carried on talking, and laughing, and loving, the shyness which came from the sharing of their kitchens quite gone. His memory was that among other things, he had read Auden’s ‘Lullaby’ to her, and as he had done so, she had touched herself; and then they had talked of how he would read to her every night, if they lived together. She told him that whatever he read, whatever he said, the sound of his voice was an erotic wellspring for her. For him it was a wonder that his voice worked such magic on her, having lived with what he had thought of as its monotony for so long. Oh, how she animated him, and how he did her.
After all the food and the wine and the love and the talking into the early hours, she was sleepy, but did not want to be parted from him; wanted in fact him to watch over her while she fell asleep, lit only by the light of her screen, its source the lamplight in his bedroom; this despite her worry that he might think she looked witless in her sleep, or that she might drool and he would be entirely disillusioned. He hushed her and as in Auden’s poem, told her to lay her virtual sleeping head on his virtual faithless arm, and nothing would have made him move it. He watched her till her breathing slowed and came in regular waves, and to him her face was as lovely in respose as he remembered it had been in reality when they had at last fulfilled their desire to be together for onewholedayonewholenight. He watched till it was impossible to keep his own eyes open, and when he woke in the depths of the night, and activated his screen, she was gone, and he felt a desperate sadness that he could no longer see her, that she wasn’t curled into him, that he wasn’t cupping her, his hand between her thighs, resting against what he had made utterly his.
But in the light of dawn they immediately switched on again to discover that they were waking up with each other, much greedier for each other’s company than for making up on their respective deficits of sleep. They made love again, and again, relentless in their need for one other. Though their hands were necessarily kept to themselves, they expressed their desire in words of black magic dirtiness which alternately drove the one and then the other to gasps and caesuras of breath. He would try so many times to find the words to describe that feeling. It was abandonment, it was addiction, it was breathlessness and weightlessness but perhaps quite simply it was the wet rush of desire. A word or a look was all it would take. Distance was rendered meaningless. They had invented a kind of teleportation after all.