He woke a little before 5am Sunday morning.
The weather had finally turned cold and so was his apartment this morning. He lay in bed, refusing to leave the warmth of the covers, wishing Her body was next to him.
They were on a “break.” She is complicated and fragile and wonderful. Her fragile reached its limit at the end of October and they decided to take a break until after the holidays. She needed time to be alone, regroup, read and sleep.
This morning He longed for the feel of Her skin.
They had shared many intimate times. Some of the most intimate had nothing to do with making love. They were travelling, experiencing joys and hardships, joking about Rick the convenience store attendant who called him “Boss” and her “Honey.” Debriefing the day and the week.
But for him the most intimate experiences He had with Her focused on just touching Her, feeling the warmth of Her skin beneath His hands.
When He woke in the mornings, She was usually facing away from him. He would put his arm around Her waist and caress the skin of Her stomach. When they made love, He would caress Her entire body with his palms.
He had told Her “touching your skin nourishes my soul.” This morning, He longed for that nourishment.
He had promised He would quit smoking while they were apart. He wasn’t keeping that promise well. He had lost count of how many He had burned since waking at 3am, chain smoking in the 35 degrees of the balcony.
They had been apart for 11 days. It was the longest they had spent away from each other since October when they finally connected, communicated and established their relationship for the long haul.
The plan was for them to be apart for 17 days. She had company, then a conference, then a weekend retreat. They both loved and hated the times apart. They enjoyed the longing. They enjoyed the intensity it bred into their reunions. But they also missed the talk, the laugh, the touch.
He had paced himself. Like a marathon runner He knew if He allowed His mind to dwell on the length of the race, He would have trouble finishing. Longing would become pain. When He found His mind tending to Her, He would quickly distract Himself with work or people. He wanted this to remain the pleasure-pain, the passionate edge.
But Thursday, She had surprised Him. He assumed She would need down time after the hectic weeks She had endured. He was willing to grant Her space whenever She needed it, Her amazing came at the price of Her needing time alone.
She reached out: “Can you come down Sunday evening, after I am home from my retreat?” Days sooner. He was excited they would be together. The thought fired His imagination and His passion.
Last night He allowed Himself an indulgence in anticipation. He took time to dwell on Her. Their shared adventures. Her joy. Her smile. But soon He found His thoughts moving to Her body, their passion. Closing His eyes and feeling Her against Him. Her soft skin beneath His fingertips. Tracing, touching, teasing…
The urge, though willfully suppressed for a week, now burned into full fire. Today He was enjoying the heat of the flame.
He woke up late.
Typically an early riser, He had been up for hours in the night for no apparent reason. He finally slothed out of bed at 7am, put on coffee and showered.
He checked His emails. 26 from one client. All negative with a last pointed one leveling a personal attack on His competency and character. That one was marked “Urgent” as if assailing His ego was the most important piece of information to convey.
Not much made Him angry. He was fuming.
He wanted Her. Just a lingering hug. Just Her compassionate ear while He vented. But She was 100 miles away at Her office. He aired His frustrations in an email and went about His day. By 7pm He was finally done working, spent.
His chest ached for the push of Her’s against it, His arms enveloping Her. The smell of Her hair as He nuzzled against her neck.
Once She came in, She called. It wasn’t the same as Her touch, Her smell, but it was much needed solace. She listened. She cared. It was a warm hug.
They talked about Her week as well. Better than His, though with frustrations of its own. Partnership.
They made plans to be together over the weekend. He looked forward to it, to Her voice, Her touch, Her smell, Her body. Laughter. Joy.
The good times with Her were always amazing. Her care, Her love made even the bad times a fuzzy memory.
He likes words.
He likes to tell Her in notes, in posts, in person how He feels about Her. His professions come without expectation. He knows Her by now and knows it is hard for Her to express Her feelings in words.
At first it was hard for Him. Not having the words. But over time He realized with Her, this is better. She gives Him something better than words.
Words, even in love, can become reflexive. Automated. Leaving a mouth without a thought, without intent. “I love you, too” becomes as automated as the “fine” when someone asks how we are.
When She says “I love you” it is always with thought, with emotion, with intent. And She does tell Him, often enough for Him and His fragile ego. He knows She loves him.
But She constantly, each time they are together, gives Him far more.
She shares Her love in ways He had never experienced, never even imagined. The way She strokes His chest as He holds her. The way She reaches for His hand as they walk. The way She wraps Her feet around His in bed.
She gives Him love in Her concern for Him. She had told Him in one of their first conversations: “I’m selfish.” And, to an extent, She is. But not with Him. She wants Him to be happy. Content. She is thoughtful in the most unpredictable ways.
She allows Him to see Her. Be “in” Her life, not just orbiting. Not feeling “invaded” when He cared about Her dog. Allowing Him to do the mundane with Her. Cleaning house for company. Redoing the deck. Trimming trees. Sanding furniture to be painted.
This weekend, they were taking a break.
They had been together most nights for months. This weekend they both felt it was time for some alone time. She is an introvert who needed quiet. He needed time as well, though not the way She does.
Tonight He missed Her. He wanted Her to tell Him once again She loved Him.
But He didn’t want Her to use words.