I love her all the time, of course, but when she’s sleeping, there’s something uniquely lovable about her. I don’t want to wake her, don’t want to break the moment.
Moments break far too easily these days.
In my dream, I can hear her in the next room, singing a lullaby to our 3-year-old child, who is singing along. I stop to listen, but I don’t stick my head in the room.
I don’t want to break the moment.
I’m up at 3:45 a.m. and off to the gym before work. I see she’s left me a note on the counter:
We have a date tonight. I’m feeling it. You have been warned.
I have to wait fifteen hours now? Oh geez. Wait, there’s more…
P.S. – Quit your bitching. I’ve had to wait since I wrote this.
90 minutes later, I come in the bedroom to get my clothes for work. I can see the light from the closet reflecting off her hair. I want to sit down on the bed and just stroke her hair back. But I don’t. Sleep is hard to come by for her these days, and if I break this moment, I might just get broken.
And I have tonight to look forward to.
It’s 2:30 in the afternoon, and this day is just dragging on. You know the early part of a relationship, where you just can’t wait to see the person again? That’s where I am.
Only it’s been nineteen years.
We’re in the car driving to dinner, and her phone rings. It’s her mother.
“What? Yes, I’ll be there at 9:45, you will be there in plenty of time.”
She hangs up.
“Mom says ‘hi’.”
“Are you taking her to the doctor tomorrow?”
“Yes. She wants me there to interpret.”
“Does her doctor have an accent or something?”
“I don’t think so, not that I ever noticed. I think mom has a crush on him, though, so she needs moral support.”
“Your mom’s, like, ninety.”
“Yes, and the doctor’s going to tell her that her heart is still beating, so, why not?”
“How old is her doctor?”
“Look, that’s beside the point. Mom has a crush on you, too, for what that’s worth.”
“Me? Well, I…”
“Oh, don’t act all smug. This is our date night. Quit flirting with my mom.”
“I wasn’t –“
“You were, too, I saw you… Oh, it’s on now. I’m going to make you forget you knew her.”
“You are so … weird.”
The place she picked for dinner turns out to be fabulous, with tables outside next to the river. It’s a beautiful night, and she looks luminous.
“You look beautiful.”
She smiles, then turns to watch the last bits of the sunset.
I don’t want this moment to end. But having an end is part of what constitutes a moment.
So I watch her, watching sunset on the river.
When I get out of the shower, she’s asleep. Under these circumstances, she wants me to wake her, so I sit down next to her, and start playing with hair. Her eyes flutter, but she leaves them closed.
“Oh, that feels good.”
“Good. It’s supposed to.”
“I don’t suppose you could just keep doing that for, like, an hour…?”
“I’m a pianist, my hands don’t get tired. So, if that’s what you want…”
I reach to capture, with words, what moments are, or feel like, or have meant; but, at the end, moments are like breaths: each one here and gone, each only felt by those who had them.
She drops off to sleep, and I look at her, lying there, and words by Bob Dylan come to mind:
The storms are raging on the rolling sea
And on the highway of regret.
The winds of change are blowing wild and free,
You ain’t seen nothing like me yet.
I could make you happy, make your dreams come true.
Nothing that I wouldn’t do.
Go to the ends of the Earth for you,
To make you feel my love
To make you feel my love