When you have worked hard for hours and hours, and drive home with the expectation that there is someone waiting there who will be happy to see you and appreciative of all your hard work and instead you’re greeted with a casual hello and then ignored while they go about their business, it is a let down. When I greet Harry with a hug and a kiss and I stop what I’m doing and ask him how his day was, or how was the drive, and then I tell him how glad I am to see him…it literally makes his day. It’s so simple. So easy to do. And it fills him up with joy and love. He says, that is the one thing he wants, the one thing he longs for. “It’s all I ask.” he says.
I laughed when he said it is his most treasured desire for daily living because that is about the easiest and most natural thing for me to do. I’m an affectionate person. Sometimes overly so and more than some might like. I love to kiss. I love to make someone feel like they’re the only one that matters in the room, in the world. I can’t be near someone I love without touching them in some way. Their neck, or arm, or hand. And if I can I will give them a hug and kiss. If we’re sitting on the couch, I want to snuggle. I want to be close. Touching if possible.
Harry and I happen to be in perfect sync with our fondness of affection being a means of expressing love. And it works for us without much effort. We also like spending quality time together. With no other distractions and just take each other in. We can spend intimate quiet moments that feel like 5 minutes but extend over hours. We can whisper and talk and lightly touch and kiss and the entire world disappears around us.
I have said before that I’m a Mary not a Martha. You can’t bring back great moments and great conversation, but the dishes will still be sitting on the counter in the morning. I’ve always been that way since I was a kid. So this request is easy, it’s who I am, it’s what I do.
Each day Harry and I grow closer as a couple. Yesterday he sat explaining to me his plan for his company jotting his plan on a dirty napkin in a restaurant during a quick lunch we snuck away from work for. A scrap piece of paper off a table held his dream. What he’s been working for years to build. What he’s been sacrificing weekends, and evenings, sleep, and a social life for. And I listened to him explain as his excitement grew. I smiled when he finished his lesson with our initials imbedded in a heart with an arrow through it.
It’s been a very long road for him. He wonders sometimes to me, why it has been so hard for him to find a person to share his life with who understands him intellectually, emotionally, and physically. He’s known what he wanted for years but it just didn’t seem possible that he would ever get to experience the fullness of what he was after. But with me, he is not hopeful, but sure. And I look into his eyes and I believe him.
I knew what I wanted too. I wanted a person I could trust. Who would courageously lead with honor and loyalty. And what I got in addition to that with Harry, is someone I feel safe to say anything to. Someone who makes me feel safe physically and emotionally.
Because it’s been so hot lately I’ve adjusted my exercise routine and have been swimming laps in my backyard pool instead of running. Tonight I did about 100 lengths. I started when the sun was setting, turned on my Pandora station that I love, set my alarm for 50 minutes, and started to swim. Song after song played and it was cool and peaceful. I had good energy. The moon rose higher into the sky, the stars twinkled, and my pool light slowly faded from blue, to green back to blue. Just as I was about to start my last 10 lengths of the pool a song from Phantom of the Opera came on and memories flashed into my head and I found myself listening to the long instrumental introduction and treading water instead of swimming in the middle of the pool.
Martin and I attended Her Majesty’s Royal Theater and sat dead center about 10 rows back, right under the chandelier, back in 2010. It was a beautiful evening and it is a beautiful musical. But flashes were like PTSD again. My body stopped working as I was assaulted with the memories.
By then Raoul began to sing.
In the book Raoul is described as having a “small, fair mustache, beautiful blue eyes, and a complexion like a girl’s.” He was a childhood friend of Christine’s and a love develops between them when they meet again as adults, and eventually they are engaged, much to the chagrin of the Phantom.
I started to swim as I listened to his beautiful tenor voice:
“No more talk of darkness
Forget these wide-eyed fears
I’m here, nothing can harm you
My words will warm and calm you”
I began to think about Harry as I swam and how tender and loving he has been to me through my tears, through the months I was getting over the hurt that happened to me.
“Let me be your freedom
Let daylight dry your tears
I’m here, with you, beside you
To guard you and to guide you”
Harry has been protective of me. He makes me feel safer than anyone I’ve ever been close to. Every chance he gets he calls me, and he can turn every single bad day into a smile. I don’t know how he does it but he does. Nothing seems as terrible with him around.
And I realized as I swam that I was free. Again. Another layer to my healing.
Free from another bittersweet memory from my past that is now a song about my present.
Christine was a character in the book who was approached by Erik – The Phantom – and was told a lie. That he was the Angel of Music her father had spoke of. He lied because he had already fallen in love with her. She believes him and she blossoms under his tutelage. Christine is described in the novel as having “honey blonde hair”, blue eyes, and suffers from nearsightedness and has the heart of an innocent child. She becomes torn by her loyalty to her mentor and her love for Raoul.
She sings …
“Say you’ll love me every waking moment
Turn my head with talk of summer time
Say you need me with you now and always
Promise me that all you say is true
That’s all I ask of you
…and even though I was in my last ten minutes of my workout and it is the longest I ever swam, my pace picked up and I felt a sense of power…as I believed that for once I had a man who was at least willing to do that one thing. Tell me the truth. But also, he was so much more.
Let me be your shelter
Let me be your light
You’re safe, no one will find you
Your fears are far behind you
…and I do feel safe, and I’m not afraid…at all…
All I want is freedom
A world with no more night
And you, always beside me
To hold me and to hide me
…every day, every night, with your super soft skin, your beautiful blue eyes, your reddish blonde moustache, and your giant bear like arms holding me…
Then say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime
Let me lead you from your solitude
Say you need me with you here, beside you
Anywhere you go, let me go too
Christine, that’s all I ask of you
…I am not making this up. As the song ended I finished my swim and I laid back and tears flowed down my cheeks as I floated looking up at the stars. My ears dropped down under the water as I tilted my head back and all I could hear was my breathing slowly relax.
It’s a lot to ask I guess…love, freedom, safety, shelter, companionship…but isn’t that what we all want? Is it too much to ask?