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But No Matter How Far Apart They Were

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April here in Chicago, where everything around me is bursting with a life I don’t feel. Up north the ice roads will be turning to rivers and to open sea, up north Fraser will be hitting that part of his duty-first itinerary that brings him back around to where I waited for him until I didn’t. For years, whenever he said jump I jumped and whenever he asked me to stay I stayed – but the next move I made would have been crawling and begging if I didn’t leave – and I already did the crawling and begging thing with Stella and got nothing for it but ashamed – damn well not gonna have that kind of ashamed with Fraser.

I’m not like the ice road: I’m not cut out for being locked into place. I need to be like when the ice road turns into a river: it’s got the moves. And Fraser? Frozen or thawed, he’s like the ocean: there’s a shiny surface and there’s some fuckin’ murky depths.

So I put this distance between us, thinking to be my own Ray now; I’ve been Stella’s Ray, been Fraser’s Ray, been the CPD’s whole bunch of guys who weren’t even Ray. But this distance, it is no damn help – I feel disconnected from what’s around me, but still connected to Fraser, like there’s an electric charge that still shoots through me every time I think about him.

And what was that Scottish thing I heard him sing, that he sang on one of those campfire nights, that thing about distance – oh yeah, “distance, it is no real friend” – uh huh, I’m seeing that now – and seeing the rest of the song where it goes “It’s an angry sea but there is no doubt that the lighthouse will keep shining out….”