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easy silence

The other evening Dan was leaving the house and for whatever reason it was one of those leaving-not-leaving experiences. He kept saying goodbye, giving me a quick out-the-door peck...and then something else would prevent him from leaving. His keys, his wallet, these things--these things that keep us from actually going anywhere.

Then he would locate whatever it was, say goodbye, give me a quick out-the-door peck, tell me "love you"...and then something else would stop him.

Goodbye. Goodbye.
Love you. Love you.
Peck. Peck.

It went on this way until finally I said, "SIR! I do not even know you. You cannot keep stealing these kisses. I have a boyfriend, you know."

The conversation is my favorite kind, a ridiculous invented reality--rendered even more absurd by the infantile futility of the word "boyfriend" when you are 44. But, anyway...

"That's a lucky man!" He called over his shoulder as he trotted down the stairs and ultimately out the door.

That is my favorite thing. Even as we approach our two year maybe-aversary--we can never remember the exact date in June since that fateful day he brought me a shop vac (swoon!)--it is still my favorite thing. It's sweet and kind, like him. But also unexpected. Oddly out of character. Light and light-hearted from a man on whose shoulders the world sits pretty heavy sometimes.

This man? Not a talker. You just have to know what you know with Dan. And that suits me right down to the ground 99% of the time. Because, honestly? I do tend to know what I know. And, at our ages love is a curing process, like soap. It takes time, wisdom, years, to learn the balance of loving although and because. To be each other and to be ourselves, equal and in harmony.

Listen, I like to write, so I have enough words.  I am a teacher, so I hear enough words.  I am a reader, and I read enough words.  For all my love affair with written language, I actually don't rely on words, your words, the world's words that much. Words are just air--empty without actions. So I rely on actions to tell me what I need to know, to really know.

There's a great song called "Easy Silence" by the Dixie Chicks. In it, she says:
"I've come to find refuge in the easy silence that you make for me.
It's okay when there's nothing more to say to me.
In the peaceful quiet you create for me.
And the way you keep the world at bay for me."

Yesterday, Dan and I were at the pool. He ran back to the car for something and I dedicated myself to a little poolside catnap. When he returned, I shaded my eyes to look up at him, standing tall next to me.

"I'm sorry. That seat is taken," I said. "My boyfriend just ran to the car and he'll be right back."

"Oh," he said as he sat back down. Not a blink, not a half smile to convey this is not a real conversation.
"I like that guy's taste."

And I smile one last sunny, summer, squinty smile as I watch him in profile, scanning the pool deck. Then I close my eyes again.
Back to my nap.
Back to easy silence.

{originally published June 2019}


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