I think it started when I was a freshman in college and J was a senior in high school. We were about 180 miles apart and it just about killed me. That was back when there were no cell phones or friends and family plans. Once a week we would set a time, and one of us would call the other on our parents' dime.
In between calls was the toughest. Don't get me wrong, I loved the letters I received from her during the week telling me how much she missed me, but it wasn't the same as just spontaneously telling her I loved her. So we set up a plan.
Every night at 10:00 p.m. we would each say in our minds, "It's 10:00 o'clock, I love you." Now, believe me, I really don't believe in this telepathic communication thing. I mean, at least, I don't think I have that skill. But every night as hard as I could I would think that phrase, and it comforted me that 3 hrs. away she was saying the same thing to me.
Even over the past 30 years, I have said it in my head at 10:00 o'clock, desperately hoping that somehow, wherever she was, J would know that I was thinking of her. About four years ago, I started thinking it on a regular basis. Who knows, maybe she heard me because here we are! And now at 10:00 p.m., I can simply roll over in bed and say it outloud, "I love you, J."