Probably not a night at the Roxbury


Chris loved my hands. Even in the worst of times for us, he loved my hands. He thought they were beautiful.
I think Chris always believed he could have done better. He once described me as a Saturn (the car, not the planet). He explained that it was exhilarating to drive a Porche now and then, but you could always come home to a Saturn. Not too fancy, but reliable. Honestly, he meant it as a compliment.  What wife doesn’t want to be reliable, and have crank windows?  Guess what? I didn’t consider it a compliment. And it didn’t help that there were plenty of fancy cars (nurses) that worked at the hospital with him. Believe me, from what I saw those nurses certainly would have been trading up too.

It’s a tough compromise being in a long term relationship.  The security, the deep connection, and the shared history are stabilizing.  But where does the passion go?  Remember when you first fell in love…that rush. That intoxicating rush that made it impossible to leave each other. Every thought is about your new lover, every tree, bush and mailbox contains them somehow. When away from each other you sit dreamily and think on them, endlessly. Their eyes, their words, the fascinating way they insist the cups line up just right in the cabinet are all the most charming things you’ve ever experienced. And to touch, not even intimately, just to have your arms graze against each other, it’s electric. Just to have your feet accidentally brush against each other feels amazing.  You count the moments until you can see each other again.
Just as an intense rainstorm must cease or else cause a flood, so must the intensity of first love. The nerve endings  must relax from their hypersensitive state or risk overload. So you begin to settle into a more comfortable place, less intense, but still charged. Overtime you breathe and relax and occasionally feel that rush, but it’s changed. It bubbles up from a deeper space in you. It’s the feeling you feel when you share pain, loss and accomplishment for your partner. Carrying your partner through the loss of a parent, having a child together, losing a job, finishing school.  Or a thousand mundane tasks….doing the dishes, rubbing your loved one’s feet after a long day, cheering them on through a race, cutting the grass, bringing them soup when they are sick. Genuine deep love develops over time. But it seems that takes the space that passion and electricity once filled. It’s ok. We accept this as the process of falling in love.

Hopefully this lasts and we never get to the following stage. Remember the adorable way he lined up the cups just so….or the way he insists the windows stay closed during rain storms even though you love the sound of rain and he knows that and it seems as though he’s just being contrary to annoy you. And why is it always you who must clean the litter box, you never even wanted cats. And dear god, when did it become ok to pass gas at the dinner table. And please do not rub your cold clammy feet on me in the middle of the night. I hate that.
That’s when you start noticing how smoothly a Porche runs.  Of course the Porche could never pay the bills on time, or appreciate how you add an extra syllable to paprika. Regardless you suddenly realize you’re a two car family.
I’m not trying to be cynical.  I just don’t want to be the silent couple at the diner. I want a balance of passion and stability, a Toyota highlander perhaps. I believe there is a way to hold onto a piece of that initial electricity. It takes work and attention. After all love is an action.