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I Remember When We Couldn't Stop Touching Each Other
Days of My Youth--Kuiokalani Lee
An Opening Letter to My Beloved Wife and Best Friend
At some point in time, one of our children or grandchildren will find this letter and share it with you.
I'd love to have done the honors myself, but you've made it very clear to me that you don't want me writing about our personal life for all the world to see.
As much as I love and respect you and your wishes, it's a stance that I am indisagreement with.
The thing that I know you will never understand--and, believe me, I'm totally okay with, because only another writer might ever understand--is that the entire experience of mankind is up for grabs. You see, honey, a writer writes because he is compelled to tell the story...and NOT just any story, but the story of his truth.
Of course, there is the sanctity of marital privacy. I totally get that.
But in the general lay of the literary land, the only real way I touch the hearts and trigger the minds and kiss the souls of others is to share in the celebration of life. There is a way to do so without breaking boundaries, and I do my very best to tread carefully in that matter.
To NOT share our general experience is to stifle my voice. Late in life, I found my voice. And so if I run recklessly in the Alps with the sound of my music, please indulge me, my darling, and my juvenile antics. I am a silly man, a month or so shy of his 61st birthday--if I am so blessed--returning for just a short season to the clarion call of my youth...your youth...our youth.
One Husband's Memories about Touch
I remember when we couldn't stop touching each other.
My arm around her shoulder as we sat, her head comfortably pillowed by my shoulder.
Hugging in the moonlight. Hugging in the zenith of the sun. Hugging under covers. Hugging for all the world to see.
Playing footsies below the table while playing UNO above.
Touching in passing. And I was always sure to make a lot of passes.
Rubbing her back as she read the book of poems I'd written for her 23rd birthday.
Wiping each other's tears with kisses on the cheek.
Bumping foreheads in the midst of belly laughs.
Writing letters with our fingers on each other's back. Trying to decipher each other's love message.
Whispering delightful secrets in each other's ears, the sensuous tickling a three-course meal served along the entire length of our spines.
Touching. Constantly touching.
Drawn to each other, ecstatic in each reunion.
Suffering painfully with each separation.
Speechless...our bodies doing all the talking at every next rendezvous.
Touching. Constantly touching.
Brandishing our doctorates in chemistry.
And biology never found us on the truant's list, either.
Lovers eventually awaken from the dream.
Passion of Narcissus gives way to Madonna and Child.
A young husband silently struggles to blaze a new path as he relinquishes his place in the sun to a yet unseen entity.
I capitulated, and in the surrender, I found new joy. Mornings found my face close to my wife's belly as I conversed for hours, it seemed, with the life force within her womb. I spoke, not in childish gibberish, but as an adult to an equal, completely awestruck by the majesty of the moment. I sang songs, reported the latest parental updates, and shared with the life in utero about its grandparents, uncles and aunties, cousins, and extended family and friends.
My wife and I still touched each other, but in a different way. There was someone else now, and there needed to be a shifting of priorities to accommodate the novel presence, to find and establish a working equilibrium, and to explore new and theretofore uncharted territories of love.
As our unborn child grew and developed, I found myself having to grow up, too. I struggled with my desire to have things return to the way they'd been the first three years of our marriage. I wanted to have the same intense level of passion. I wanted to feel the exhilaration of being number one again. I wanted more attention, not less.
And just as soon as I'd feel these things, I would be racked with guilt. How dare you feel this way, Joe? Get it together, man! You're a father now! Time for you to man up, son!
I would carefully observe other fathers with their children. In the universal way of men from all over the globe, I emulated the behaviors of those who I thought exhibited the genuine qualities I wanted to have as a father. While I continued to struggle with my selfishness and self-pity, I sincerely desired to be a good daddy to our child.
In time, we were blessed with two delightful babies, a boy and a girl, born six years apart, far enough where each experienced, in a fashion, oldest child and only child syndromes. In addition, perhaps thanks in part to this experimental father speaking to them while they were still in Mommy's belly, both turned out to be Alpha children.
Reflections in the Present
And so it is that on this late Spring day, as I walk along a country road, the dense tight coils of alfalfa with their amazing array of purple flowers in the field on my left and the sweet peas adorned with spiraling green tendrils and maroon flowers in the field to my right, I think of my better half.
I am a good five miles away from her.
And over three decades removed from when we couldn't stop touching each other.
Our children are now young adults, immersed in that same season of life when their lovely young mother and I had once known the heat of a thousand suns. It's a different world, to be sure, but it's the same familiar story. They each now have their own special someone.
My wife and I...we've changed.
Our love has matured over time. We can sit in the same room without having to sit on each other's lap. We can go for hours without saying much of anything to each other, and, frankly, we're okay with that. A date can be as simple as shopping for potential treasures at yard sales or thrift stores. She loves to read. I love to write.
The only thing superlative in our life is Sunday night when I'll take her to the local cinema and watch a certain young man from Krypton light up the screen.
These are some of my thoughts as I walk along this country road.
Once upon a time, we couldn't stop touching each other. And yet, in truth, our hearts and minds and souls are so intertwined that there's always this figurative umbilical cord connecting us. Man may very well someday have the technological know-how to build bridges from continent to continent, but he'll never be able to replicate the love connection I have with my wife.