53. What love can do

 

And I count my blessings that you’re mine for always
We laugh beneath the covers
and count the wrinkles and the grays

Sing away, sing away, sing away, sing away
Sing away, sing away, my darling, we’ll sing away
This is our kingdom of days
This is our kingdom of days

Springsteen, Kingdom of days

 

And so I’m here. After all these months of longing and waiting; counting days and just holding on, we are finally together in the same space once again. I am no longer living in her future but entirely inside our shared moments. And in each of those moments, I can simply reach out and touch her cheek with my fingertips; cup her face in my palm. I’m not quite sure why that has always been the measure of my contentment – there is so much more we can now do – but somehow, the simple intimacy of holding the face of the woman you love is so definitive to me.

The most reassuring thing, though, is the way  that intimacy never waivers. I’m not referring to sex here, but rather the way we are so completely at ease with one another within minutes of coming back together. There is always an understandable nervousness in the days and weeks leading up to the visit, but the moment we are face to face, all becomes very, very simple. I guess this is how you can be certain you’re with the right person.

As I knew I would, I’ve slotted straight back into family life. The children simply accept me as if having a man living with them for weeks at a stretch is the most normal thing in the world. They are always so excited by my arrival and so eager to share the events of the preceding months. The youngest loves to be walked to school and I enjoy that little ritual too. The crossing guards along the way all remember me from previous visits and greet me with questions about what I’ve been up to.

Even the dogs seem unfazed by my sudden reappearance. Usually wary of males, in particular, they took my arrival in stride and acted as if I’d just been a little longer than usual at the store. They’ve already folded me back into their daily routines. For a man whose regular home life is a somewhat solitary affair, all this is quite a comforting departure from my norm.

Before Jersey girl, I had all but forgotten what it felt like to be a part of something this inclusive. My own son has left home and we generally see each other only once a week for a meal. To always have someone around is, therefore, a very different way of living.

I’m finding NJ much as I left it (if a little damper). The streets of her little town are as familiar as ever; the vibe, that same low hum of calm. The days ahead hold their usual promise, next week we head down to Wildwood and Cape May (the first places we ever travelled to together) to that same B&B we stayed at on my very first visit. Asbury also awaits, and Philly, and New York. There are friends to catch up with and new restaurants to try.

I don’t know how interesting it will be for all of you to read about, but I do know exactly how much I’m going to love experiencing it.

These are the days I live for. I’m home again at last and all’s right with the world.

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