Will you sit with me? Maybe I need some vitamin D3, I’m just feeling…well, a little blue. Come sit beside me. I’m warm inside my coat with my fingertips tucked inside my palms. Are you warm enough? There are some things I want to say before I forget.
Do you remember the day you bent down on one knee and asked me not to marry you? We had picked out our rings and then I got cold feet. I had already messed up one marriage.
I never told you about the day that I fell to my knees in front of the wall to wall glass windows of my little house in the woods with the wrap around balcony set on stilts overlooking the forest. The sun was so bright that morning I had to squint. I was so tired of not seeing things for what they really were. I prayed that day. “God, if I fall in love again, You be the one to choose. I give up.”
Do you remember all our phone calls, dozing off but not wanting to lose the connection? The old handhelds would lose their charge. You would lie on the floor beside the outlet in your apartment to keep the conversation going while your phone charged, and you’d struggle to stay awake. “Well…good night….” you’d whisper into the phone after some long silent pauses.
“Don’t hang up!” I’d snap into consciousness—pain in the neck that I was. So you would hang on, and our phone bills were several hundred dollars each month. I know you remember that.
I’ve always loved the sound of your voice. I still do. I’d never heard anything so soft, so solid—it vibrated through me. I’d ask you to read to me and you would. I don’t remember what. It doesn’t matter now. It was just the sound of your voice speaking into my heart the assurance that you cared, that you loved…just me.
You came to visit me and I picked you up at the airport in my new red Honda that I had financed on my own. I was so proud of that little car and to have a house all my own. I mean I rented it, but it was mine. I bought my TV from a yard sale next to the studio where I danced and cleaned in order to cover my rent. It was a black and white 13″ with rabbit ears that wore tin foil like pigtails.
My stereo was a department store model close-out special.
My couch sat on stacks of books but I liked that it was sort of the color of the sky over the lake. You had to sit down carefully or it would emit particles.
I found an old upright piano that the guys from work rolled down the long path to my house on logs.
My pride and joy was my table—it was brand new and folded out to seat six or became small for two and had a storage compartment for four extra chairs. I had saved up $100 to buy it. You know how I loved to cook for people. None of my plates matched but they were bright colors.
I found my dresser on the street. It had been used to store potatoes but cleaned up nicely.
You liked my house with its wrap around deck, its two big white rocking chairs that we would sit in at the end of the day and have a smoke—back when we still smoked.
You smiled at my couch, bought me a new TV, and soon a stereo with a good sound system and some CDs. They were more for you than for me, but they were nice.
We flew to see each other on Thursdays on Midwest Express with the free wine and chocolate chip cookies. I’d catch my flight after I finished teaching and we’d meet for a late dinner in the city I had moved away from twenty years earlier—the city where my parents lived, and my family.
Do you remember the Thursday we watched a movie at your apartment and fell asleep on the living room floor? I snuck in my parents’ back door like a teenager the next morning, taking the back staircase up to my bedroom around 6:00 AM. My dad soon appeared, standing in the doorway with bulging temples. “We fell asleep, Dad.” It didn’t matter if I was 14 or 45.
Then Sundays would come and we’d have to say goodbye.
It was at my prompting that the suggestion of marriage came up. “Would you ever want to get married again…?” I asked you.
“Someday,” you said.
“Someday, somehow, somewhere….?” I think I sang the words. “Why not now?”
I’ve always been under the impression that I proposed to you but you said, “No. You just gave me the go ahead to ask.”
My fingers are cold now. Let’s go home. I’m so glad we don’t have to say goodbye.