I told him once, that I loved him desperately. He replied that he did not love me with a modifier like desperately.
I was crushed.
I get it now. If desperately was truly how I felt then, it isn’t how I feel now. The adjectives I feel on this day, in this minute, are infinitely more interesting and accurate. I love him intensely, solidly, joyfully. I love him effortlessly. Easily. I love him with my body, and I love him with my heart. I love him for who he is, and I love him for who he isn’t. I love him with a wholeness that I haven’t felt with anyone else.
Special Man Friend came to me last weekend, within a couple of hours of hearing of my ex-husband’s suicide. He came and he didn’t leave. He kept me together, so I could keep my children together. Every minute, of that weekend, he loved me, exactly how I needed to be loved. He was present, available, and emotionally connected. He fed me coffee, and held my hand, and talked me through the shock, which lasted nearly two days. He offered to drive us to the funeral. He loved and listened to my kids. I saw his almost-tears, when Georgia said to me, “Mom, don’t get mental illness and kill yourself, ok?” and then turned to him and said, “You either.”
He loves me. All of me. In the aftermath of the first day, as I drifted to an exhausted and fuzzy half sleep, I said to him, “I love you, Dave.”
Which, is not his name. It is the name of the man I loved, in another life, so different and long ago from this life, that I barely think of it. In the rare times that I do think of him, I count myself lucky to have had the strength to leave him and make a new, better, happier, safer life. But then I said to SMF, “I love you, Dave.”
I was mortified. I tried to apologize. I told myself, in my exhaustion, that this was unforgivable.
“No”, he said, with all the love for me in his voice that could ever possibly be there. “No. It’s okay. It’s time to sleep.”
And he curled around me, and loved me as I finally slept.