We used to hold hands – a lot.
You, so confident and sure of yourself. Me, a giggly bundle of insecurity.
It was just the two of us then, nearly 25 years ago. We’d meet in the morning before work, when we had to hide our newfound love from the bosses, and the exes.
We’d split a blueberry muffin and have a cup of coffee - before coffee was cool, in the town that spawned cool coffee, where salmon spawned, in the town that spawned us.
Things seemed to be more mysterious and slower then, and everything was scary, because nothing was in our control. But everything was new, and everything was undecided and up for grabs, and everything was exciting. There was a road in front of us that was unknown, and we were taking that road.
It was a long time ago, but not long enough ago that I’ve forgotten the feelings. I still feel like I have to check the rearview mirror when I hear Jefferson Starship belting out Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now. I still get the urge to slip off my shoes and play footies with you when we’re at a serious dinner with clients. Sometimes, if I shut out all of the day to day noise… if I squeeze my eyes shut and be very still, I can remember, that tingly tickle in my gut when you, being a touchy person anyway, would, to make a point during our animated conversations, grab my arm, or my leg, and send me to the floor.
I remember that heady mix of delight, desire, and dread. I remember the amazement of being absolutely adored, while absolutely adoring you. I remember loving the fact that we used to hold hands a lot back then. In the car, in the grocery store, going to sleep. It was as if we needed to connect at all times. As if we were afraid if we let go, the magical bond we’d created would somehow dissolve.
Over the years, through time, and tears and tenaciousness, we’ve cemented that tenuous bond. But even though that bond is secure, the truth is, we don’t hold hands that much anymore. Even though we are publicly and legitimately a couple, with 2.5 kids, a mortgage, two careers, pets, and all of the ensuing drama, intimate contact time is harder to come by. A peck on the cheek as we rush out the door, a quick hug while doing the dishes, a drowsy morning, post-alarm cuddle is all we have time for. I honestly miss that tentative, heart-stopping, mysterious throb of new love. And I know you do too.
But, my theory is this – we’ve had our time. We’ve had the highs, and the lows and the in-betweens of building up our relationship stone by stone, and knocking down the brick walls we’d built in the past. Now, now is the time for us to celebrate the present and plan our future. To continue the literary metaphor, this is the denouement of the mysteries of our past. This is the plot twist we didn’t see coming. Call it maturity, call it security, call it coming full circle, call it OZ, but it’s your wisdom, your heart, and courage that bring me home now, not your heady, defiant, politically astute ambition of the past.
What turns me on now is watching you work your daddy-magic. Holding your newborn children, bandaging their first torn skin, listening to their angst-filled tirades, or watching them drive off with their friends, barely licensed themselves. It scares the bejiggers out of you, but you let them go, little by little, that invisible thread connecting your heart to them, stretching a little more each time.
Soon we’ll be just you and me again, and we’ll have the same struggles we had back then, knocking down and building up, getting to know each other, and remembering that you really don’t like to dance, and I really don’t like to sing, and that you can’t remember names and I can’t forget a grudge.
Love, when it is new, holds mystery and potential. Love, as it deepens and matures holds answers and promise. We are different now, than when our love first bloomed. Our lives are busier, faster, fuller, and harder. And granted, sometimes a little less intimate. But with my newfound maturity and your proven competence, I know that we are very close to another road, where there are new mysteries, and challenges, one where we can hold hands again, and explore.