Friday, April 20, 2018

44


I have stood up at birthday gatherings to read this aloud as a toast, and I have written it on cards mailed to express the same. Many mornings I have lazed in bed, wishing to lock these words to memory in the way I have the lyrics of Leonard Cohen and the prose of Pat Conroy. 

What though youth gave love and roses, 
age still leaves us friends and wine. 

It feels, at this point in my life, as if I have lived both these lines though never at the same time. Until today. Until her.

With her, because of her, words seen by me before as defining and with boundaries, now seem fluid. They intertwine and overlap as easily as waking legs tangle up in linen sheets. Age doesn't define, gender doesn't define, race doesn't define...

Not as the individual that I am, but as a committed couple I've been slow to embrace her norm. I am the trick candle which goes out then relights, goes out then relights, goes out then relights. 

I know my strength ultimately steadies me, and I know her sweet patience has no end. It was a premonition that brought us together, sealed then by a secret. Now love and passion and joy keep us devoted.

My wish that we remain forever so, a wish no longer unnerving, is the unwrapped gift I give to her this day.

Happy Birthday, Baby.   



Thomas Moore, National Airs, Spring and Autumn, st. 1 (1815)

Monday, April 2, 2018

dazed, not confused



"Let's just eat out of the pan," she says, as I'm reaching for two pasta bowls.

It's our pattern now; each hot pan of pasta is set between us on an iron trivet at the table. We talk. We twirl. 

Sometimes we have appetizer plates for cutting things such as large shrimp, or we may have a side bowl to pile up empty clam shells.

We sit close. Her hands are rarely not touching me. 

We share food while sharing truths.

"What was something Sarge did that irked you?" she asked halfway through our last dinner of linguine. That's what she has called Spoke from the beginning, being her respect for the man she never met but wishes to know much about. As a veteran, she has a bond with him, but by her many questions, she knows more about him than most people.

I swallowed hard. I thought hard. I drew a blank.

I tried to recall by categorizing: chores, leisure, money, sex, vacations, work...

Several bites later I put down my fork and wiped away tears.

Wow. Wow! There was nothing he did that irked me.

We've talked about it; of how easily new love can reach that stage. We talk a lot. We talk about everything.

But that night we cleared the table in silence, both of us amazed. 

She poured us more wine. We sat back down. To talk.





Tuesday, March 27, 2018

two birds


She has ruffled my feathers and at times made me want to take flight.

Instead and instinctively, I calmed myself by will. 

Inch by inch I moved further out on a limb. Oddly, the further out I got, the more centered and secure I felt.

For it was there that I heard her cooing.



 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

if























If there is any single thing in my home that reflects life with Spoke and at the same time captures my life continuing, now with her, it might be these Chianti bottles.

If imitation is a true form of flattery, then attention goes to the very small trattoria in Florence where I swooned over such a display of the local wine bottles hanging in a corner. The restaurant as I remember, is tucked into a quiet space open only to foot traffic, with an American Express office just a door or two away. Nostalgic as they are, few of these bottles held drinkable wine but I found an exception with the Sangiovese from Castellina in Chianti. I lugged three home and they hang in this collection, on this wall.

If anyone had told me that tragic Thanksgiving, that in a couple of years I'd be in love, I'd have told them they were drunk, and if they added that my love would be for a girl, I'd have said they were plastered. And likely also stoned.

Never in a million years, we whisper to each other. 

If there had been no gatherings at Jimmy's Food Store, we might not be together.

If I hadn't had a premonition, we might not be together.

If she hadn't answered a text, we would not be together.

If she wasn't a veteran, things might not be the same.

If I didn't have trust in myself, a strong belief that I am always led, then we would not be together. 

Never in a million years...

If the Chianti bottles remained as they have for many years, unlit, they would continue to be a sweet memory of the past, but as she filled those bottles with gleaming light, I felt myself filling up with such cliches of emotion: love, gratitude, trust, wanting.


Never in a million years...
Never in a million years...
Never in a million years...




Wednesday, February 14, 2018

first valentine's day (uh-maybe)

 















Being in love with HER, I signed in my card, is at times, enormously overwhelming, but exactly where I want to be.

We're so good together; such opposites yet two peas who I think, but by the grace of God, landed in the same pod. 

I could but I won't explain or defend this relationship beyond saying some days, even good ones, do puzzle me, and others test me, yet they all are happy beyond expectation and measure. Days are hours and hours are minutes and within, she and I have few unconnected seconds.

So yes, WE are the elephant still present in the joyful rooms filled with family and friends. It's as though, if we don't talk about it, maybe it will go away. 

Doubtful.

That's my heartfelt hope this Valentine's Day.
 




Photograph 2016 John Drysdale
2016 Graphique de France Ltd

Thursday, October 26, 2017

with: with her


Turned on her head
Yet this upside-down world is clear
With little unspoken between them 
Casual fades 
With afternoon tears

The all-real and the all-true right her
To now follow a starry path
With deep breaths, eyes locked
With resolution
She has no fears 



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

i didn't blink


Imagine open country roads, a sappy metaphor for my new life. 

Imagine coming upon an intersection on such a road, a hand-painted wooden sign posting the choice of paths: this way, that way, the other way. In my mind, the sign's wood is ashen, weathered from rain and time, the paint lettering is white, faded from sunshine.

Barely two months ago, I ventured down such a road. I was alone but not lonely. For two years I've been driving by myself in his car: slow Sundays to the fast-lane-to-nowhere evenings. 

I sat at the intersection, pondering as you might say when facing wide open fields of decision. Which way should I go?

I chose the other way. No hesitation.

Sticking to mostly dusty back roads, steering or as a passenger but now in a brand new convertible, music is always playing, the sun warms my face, and the wind blows through my hair. 

I know I made the right turn.