I write to you as the evening shadows draw close, with the 1)tang of fog upon my breath, the very first of this season. I feel your arms about me as you left this morning for the airport as I wrap my 2)shawl a little closer. Joey woke up and you patted him back to sleep, and left me warm and tangled in the sheets, already waiting for you to be back.
It has always been like this, though I never let you know of the waiting. The first time I talked to you, on those typed pages, 3)under the cloak of names 4)artfully chosen, moments became minutes and minutes gathered to hours. When we could talk no more, I was yearning, restless, and 5)loath to admit it. I gave you my number, gave it to a complete unknown, and was scared of my lack of 6)trepidation because, amazingly, no logic I could 7)muster would dismiss my 8)conviction that you were for real.
As I talked to you for days that 9)spilled into weeks, I was 10)tremulous, unsure, as a spider thread launched into the breeze, and it was as if in you my soul had found an anchor. You would talk to me of this and that, of a 11)pompous colleague or of a cab driver gone 12)amok, of the 13)impending marriage in your neighborhood, of an art exhibition where a watercolor made you think of me. I would laugh: a building, are you serious? I am really not that fat, you know! You would move on to explain, but my mind would wander, I would 14)stroll in front of the mirror and examine myself: have the years of marriage marked time on my face, am I as slim as before Joey came?
In those months of waiting, whether for the axe to fall or for happiness to strike I do not know, it was your voice and the 15)tug of Joey’s fingers that pulled me through. When I see the two of you together, him on your shoulders with a 16)fistful of your hair, your 17)impish grins mirroring each other, I am happy I made the decision to be part of your life and to make you a part of ours.
You have become my spirit and my essence, my joy and temptation, the answer to 18)fervent prayers whispered with only half a hope of their fulfillment. I 19)revel in the freedom of the 20)enclosure of your arms, the way I am beautiful to you in the mornings without even running a comb through my hair. And through the times before I married you, what won me over was the way you somehow knew when to hold me close and when to let me be.
People wiser than I would care to argue with often say that extreme emotions cannot be sustained for long. They use the body as the flame does a candle, and the flame is never stronger than when the candle is at its shortest. So for a love of two people to survive, it must be 21)immortalized by the death of one or both, or simply get 22)lulled to companionship, or worse still, slowly 23)wilt under the weight of life’s 24)mundane tomorrows.
But you were first a stranger, then a friend, afterwards a lover and now my husband. You are the man who left spaces in our togetherness as pauses in the 25)cadence of a song. I trust as well that each day I pass with you now, one of your arms about my shoulder and the other around Joey as you introduce me to your friends, will remain with me as I grow older.
As I write to you now, I know that when you are back next week I’ll probably tell you how much I love you and this letter may just seem 26)superfluous. Please know that when you read it in the fifth, tenth or thirtieth year of our marriage, I love you then as I love you today when our marriage is a full year old, and we are miles apart on our first wedding anniversary.
What won me over was the way you somehow knew when to hold me close and when to let me be!