Three Hundred and Fifty Two

Three hundred and fifty two:
The number of miles between us,
A heck of a long way to travel
By plane or train or car or ferry
Or a mixture of all the above;
The number of times we could say “I miss you”
Before it started to sound tired,
Not that that would stop us;
The number of days a year we could talk,
When you take out holidays and birthdays
And emergencies
And the days we’re just too busy;
The amount of time in minutes
We could spend in each other’s company,
With our old friend Morgan, of course,
Before we need to take some sort of break;
The number of stories we could tell,
About my old life,
And your new life,
And times together,
And people we knew,
Before, maybe, we run out,
Maybe;
The number of words in thousands
I think I could say to you
Before you started to become bored,
Braindead,
Drunk,
Or a mixture of the above,
Until you started a monologue
By some stoned teenager on radio
Or a manifestation of madness,
Because they were some of our last times together;
Or, maybe, how much it’ll cost to see you again,
With price hikes on cheap flights;
Or the amount of time in minutes it’ll take
To get from one place to the next,
And every one of them worth it,
(But I’m really not sure on the time);
The number of lines I’d like to say
But think you’ll grow tired of,
And anyway, I’d probably repeat myself.

The point is, I miss you,
And three hundred and fifty two
Is just random enough to mean something.
The point is, I can’t help but think about you
And how far you’ve come,
And how far you’ve gone to get here,
Or there.
The point is, I’m proud of you
For taking such a big step in life,
For going the distance,
And settling down in a steady job
After five unsteady years
(Because that’s what college is all about.)
The point is, every moment mattered,
From pizza on New Year’s Day,
To a night as the drunken dead,
To haunted castles
And haunting performances,
To tears and laughter
And long talks about life,
The lack of it,
The meaning of it,
The purpose of it,
The most important things in it,
And the people we’ve met,
And lost,
And loved,
And aspired to help,
From a play that wouldn’t mean anything
Without your direction
And accidental casting.
The point is, in three and a half years
(And counting),
No one else has changed so much about me,
Or meant so much to me,
And stayed in touch throughout it all,
Good and bad and drunk,
Like you have.
The point is that life matters because of you,
That dreams go on thanks to you,
And no number can fully define us,
Not the distance between us,
Or the time until we meet again,
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned
It’s that we’ve changed those rules
At least three hundred and fifty two times.

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About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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