Here is what being in love with Graham feels like to me now.
I'm driving down the streets of Palo Alto. The air is as clear and sharp as glass. The sky is a flat dome of blue. I feel the sun warm my face as I turn onto a street in my neighborhood. The girls are at school, Chicca our German Shepherd is in the back of the car, and Graham is at work. I drive slowly and notice the way that the daylight penetrates the green leaves. Out of nowhere a thought crashes into my head. What if something terrible were ever to happen, to happen to Graham. What if there were god forbid an accident or an illness, and he were suddenly gone, pulled out of our lives. Having disoriented myself, I swiftly move into irrational executive planning mode, mentally rearranging to make a practical list. The first item that pops into my head, is how would I go about finding a husband just like Graham, who would listen to my crazy ideas, and tuck the girls in at night, and watch bad tv, and send me LOL cats when I'm in a bad mood. How could I find a person exactly like that?
We are out to dinner on a Thursday night. We are sitting at at table near the window and the shape of Graham's head cuts a clear dark edge against the setting sun. He is talking about something technical, maybe the various methods of making sense of big data, random forest or stacking, I can follow him and I understand the concepts he talks about the way I understand poetry. I swallow the words by the bushel, and a shape stays. I get it, but in a way that I have little control over the information. I am with him letting his thoughts make their impression, and for a second I loose track. I don't hear him, there is silence in my head. His face is talking to me. The sun lights up a few tiny red curls in his sideburns. And I wonder, when he leaves his body for good, where will he go. How can I find him there. In a second I am back. I am crying at dinner, again. He knows me and how I do this and jokes, "You're going to make the waiters here think I'm mean to you." We both laugh.
Here's the thing, he's going to think these little bits are morbid, and is his Birthday, so I need to flesh this out with a bit that stays in the here and now.
I am in the kitchen pressing a clove of garlic into a yellow cup. A pile of romaine lettuce is in a white bowl, waiting for dressing. Gwendolyn is sitting at her usual stool at the counter, crouched over her homework, head down. Chloe is hidden from view erecting the Death Star out of legos; the project is so huge it has taken over a half a room. Eloise dances across the floor singing a pop song of her own making, her pink skirt a twirl as she coos, "and you're troo- ooo-ooo…" Just then the door cracks open, there is the jangling of keys. We all look up and turn toward his arrival. We have been waiting for this moment. He joins us in the kitchen. I let everyone have their turn and then I take mine, tucking my face into his neck, inhaling all I can of his skin, his neck and hair. I kiss him on the lips.
Yes, this is how it happens.
Happy Birthday, my love. Happy Birthday.