He’d gotten the last text message from Evan at three that afternoon, right after he had landed in Ontario.
From Evan: I’m here. Safe and sound. I’ll skype when I get to the cabin. Reception is shitty up north. I love you. Wish you were here.
He had told him that it takes about an hour to drive from the airport to the cabin his family owned in northern Ontario, near the mountains. It was a family vacation, one that Evan had bailed on for the past two years because of work. But it was now eleven at night, and Jonathan had yet to hear from him.
He was pacing his bedroom, simultaneously looking from the phone in his hand, to the Skype screen on the desktop in the corner. Eight hours: eight hours without a word from his boyfriend. He didn’t know if he was alive or dead, or merely ignoring him. Jonathan’s mind was jumping to the worst conclusions: dead in a ditch, eaten by bears, killed by a serial killer, figuring out a way to break up with him…
The last thought was the one to make him stop, because of all of them, it seemed the most likely. Sure, they were happy, but their relationship was…complicated. Jonathan was still H2O Delirious, the masked gamer, and Evan was still Vanoss Gaming, one of the most popular and most recognizable Youtuber’s out there. Besides the fact that they lived on complete opposite sides of the country, whenever they were together, they had to be cautious, lest someone out them, or Jonathan. It took a toll on their relationship, and though neither one ever said anything, Jonathan knew it bothered Evan. Evan had invited him to meet his family this weekend, but Jonathan said no, too afraid to admit that he was terrified that their relationship wasn’t going to last through the turbulence: that he didn’t want to fall in love with his family only to let them down when he couldn’t provide what Evan needed. And now, Evan was thousands of miles away, on a vacation that Jonathan chose not to accompany him on, not answering his phone.
Sometimes it’s just easier that way. One constantly on a plane, seeing not much more than the interiors of first class cabins, airports, hotels, camera lenses, and of course, always, his own reflection in the mirror. Truth be told, it’s exactly why he tries not to see himself as much as possible when he’s not working. He’ll smile, pose, and make nice with everyone he meets, but it comes at a price. He feels older every day. Each smile takes a drop of energy from his body and sometimes he can feel the absence of what he has willingly given.
The other? He buries himself in his own world. His is comfortable and small, a place of only familiar faces, ones he has specifically chosen and trusts, and his fingers flying over the plastic keys of his keyboard. He has crafted a safe life for himself, one that he guards intensely.
Four days and not a word is exchanged, electronically or otherwise, and he uses his key to let himself into the house as if it’s his own. He uses his foot to shoo the dog off the couch, and flops down in an purposeful fashion that he knows will jostle the other’s fingers from his typing.
There is a conversation that needs to be had. The days they have missed need to be recounted and connections need to be remade, reserves filled in the ways they have long learned how to do. His head falls back to rest against the back of the sofa and his hands stretches out into the six or seven inches that separate them. It’s a question, an offer, one that always makes the organs deep inside his body twist and churn.
A hand reaches out to his, and he knows with the first brush of those fingers that it’s all going to be okay. Somehow.