I am absolutely guilty. Wait…first…
There was a time in the very recent past where I thought of a him, a him that I knew was hurting. I wanted, craved, to be the soft touch that eased his rough exterior. I wanted to be the one to take care of him. I spoke gently and kindly to him, words that sounded more like sweet satin rose petals falling to lullabies. My kisses serum to heal the deepest of wounds. I wanted to be his reason.
I wanted to be needed, to be understood and cherished for my loving heart and capacity for tender care. I wanted to be entrusted with the heart of a man, and in large part just to prove to myself that I was worthy of doing so.
Since that time, I have buried that dream or perhaps something much less morbid, I have let that fairy tale go like a bouquet of red balloons; into the sunshine they go until they vanish from sight never to be held again. I have, also, begun a sweeter love affair that I could have ever imagined.
It all started with a word: Darling. I used to call to him with delicate ease, like lace on silk or the faintest breath escaping the lips in a loving sigh of euphoric ineffability. And now, I call to her–myself–with the same name and the same sentiment. I have softened my inner voice. I speak to her as though she were my beloved and by doing so, it has become so. She is mine.
She wanted to set the alarm for 6am for a run. Pushing. Sore even still from today and yet she wanted to push. “Darling,” I said sweetly barely opening my eyes, “you need your rest. You’ve had a very long weekend and another long week ahead. Best to do it while you can.” She set the alarm to 8 without even so much as a defiant groan. It is new. Normally there would have been debate. Guilt for “quitting” before I even began, shame for choosing “sloth” or rest over work. But not today. I spoke to her with every loving intention and she responded in kind, recognizing my heart’s aim, albeit silently.
And as I have begun to dance fully with the one who brung me, I also came to an emotional crossroads. I thought of another him. Actually all of them. And rather than push them away or banish them to the far corners of my mind I let them touch me. And I touched them. The tall and sturdy, the quiet and musing, the number one…I looked them over and finally I held each hand and kissed each cheek.
I love you, but I love me more.
And this time it was not a line. It was the absolute truth. I turned to walk away, apologies I never got floating above me like old scarlet letters knotted and sealed in ribbon; I toss them up into the sky and I watched for only a moment, before I beginning to walk forward down the broken road, sunshine ahead painting the horizon. I called my Darling and let her know I am on my way home. She didn’t have to tell me how happy it made her. I could feel it wordlessly. I just knew.