about your partner…
It’s inevitable, I suppose, after being married a certain and very large number of years, like 42 or so– your friends start losing their partners in various ways… They’ve tossed or replaced them, and some have died. So you start thinking of what you might miss about your own partner.
I start with his arms around me, the way our bodies, somewhat similar in height, meet each other on equal ground, wrap around, fit together. His stomach at 63 is still flat, almost concave on some days when he doesn’t remember how much food he actually needs… My stomach has no such issues, having housed six children (not in my stomach exactly, I know), and often thinking about the next food fix, but I tend toward not allowing myself to fill out too much so we still fit together well.
After this many years, I’m thankful he still chooses me. And I choose him.
I love when he takes off his shirt at night and he’s standing next to the bed in his boxer briefs- the red ones, or the black ones with tiny red lobsters. I’d miss that moment, how lithe and youthful he still looks. It never fails to delight or thrill me, even though I don’t always show it, because that would just be too much when we’re both settling in to read.
I’d miss reading in bed with him at night. Not watchers of television screens, we’re readers of words on paper, preferring the feel of turning pages. Presently, and ambitiously, I’m reading War and Peace, which seems so timely… So watching shows together wouldn’t be missed; the discussions would.
I’d miss his voice. I’d miss his kiss. I’d miss the smell of him. Even sweaty and salty, he smells clean underneath. He used to smell of smoke, even for a year or so after retiring from the fire department. I don’t think I miss that. I did miss him coming home after 24-hour shifts, my time alone, then the reunion.
We can’t save up time alone. We know it might be coming for us, so we stock up against it, like preparing for a famine. But it doesn’t work.
Like kids. I knew I’d miss them little and cute, but some days it was just too much shenanigans, too much picking up and cleaning up crumbs, and too much noise. I couldn’t store up any of it against the far off days when I might enjoy it more. Better to just enjoy what I could and leave the rest, like a delicious meal. But someone always has to clean-up… I’d miss the way he seems to enjoy washing the dishes.
I’d miss his cooking and baking. Tonight we had beef bourguignon he made in a cast iron pot in the oven, with fresh bread he baked. He makes the best scones, whole grain, a feat in itself. He grinds his own ancient grain flours. Sorry if I’m bragging. I’d miss having a man I could brag about; I know I couldn’t replace him. I envision going on alone. And I picture the loneliness, the acts of sheer survival.
And then I’m back in the present, deciding I’d better appreciate what I have now, enjoy it, and him, and us now, not wait, looking forward to something or someday that may never come.
But I also think of what it would be like to be without him. I want to remember every feel of him against me and not think I didn’t love him enough, that I passed up on love when I could’ve had it, and then it’s gone. I can’t store it up, but still I try, I try to breathe him in and memorize the feel and smell and taste of him. I feel like I should be able to do that, at least.