Thursday, August 03, 2006

Blues traveler

My husband has been on the road for days (and feels like weeks). The deep loneliness and longing that ensues in his absence is a mystery to my mother, who thinks that I should be enjoying the smattering of independance. She is undoubtedly the product of a husband who has traveled far and long for too many years to count, and a personality that prompts her to fill the time alone with fun outings with her children, discount shopping and late night reality TV watching.

Don't get me wrong. It has its perks. I can eat frozen yogurt for dinner without worrying about what to feed my strapping spouse. I can leave the bed unmade without a hint of guilt. I dye my roots and sleep in deep conditioner. I watch "What Not To Wear" marathons. And yet when the time finally comes to get into bed, despite all of the extra leg room, I sleep fitfully, if at all.

Before I met my husband, I was always single. Despite many offers, I never met a boy that I liked more than I enjoyed my freedom, my girlfriends, my sushi-for-one. Where some friends were serial monogamists, I was addicted to my independance and could not imagine factoring in someone else with equal importance.

And then I met him and everything changed. I missed nothing from the outside world. Calls went unanswered. Sitcoms unwatched. It was a crash course in relationships -- my first "real boyfriend" complete with shared plans for the Jewish holidays and space in his closet. It was quite a shake up, especially due to the fact that I fell in love at first sight. Five months into our relationship he invited me on vacation to Antigua. I could not imagine what we would talk about alone together for a week. I went out to dinner with my friend Candice and unloaded my anxieties, ranging from "how much should I pack" to "should I offer to pay". "What if we get bored with each other there?" I wondered to her. "There's no TV!" I had also spent some time revealing my fears that He was somewhat commitment phobic. The first night we on the island, he proposed. We spent the rest of the week planning our lives together and Candice, who already knew what he had planned, had kept a list of all the dumb things I had worried aloud about at dinner with her. She gave it to me at my bridal shower.

But I digress.

I am not sure when, over our five years of marraige, I started needing my husband as much as air. When I lie in bed alone, I feel like I am quietly gasping, twisting in the sheets. My worst fears invade my head, from plane crashes to my daughter falling out of her crib. I eagerly await daybreak, knowing that it will bring me one day closer to our reunion.

I have spoken about this at great length with my friend Leigh -- the risks we take by being, to quote Beyonce, "crazy in love". Leigh is just about to embark, and I am in up to my eyeballs. Elise and I have discussed at length that every time our husbands leave, we can't help but let our minds go there. And there is their funerals, after our husbands board flights to places like Chicago/San Francisco/Orlando for hours in stale conference rooms and bad restaurants, we are convinced for a moment each time that they will meet with disaster. Elise is concerned with shiva platters and I wonder where the hell I would find a decent rabbi, but it all comes down to the same thing -- being positive that we could not possibly go on without them. But what's a few sleepless nights when compared to loving and being loved in a way that keeps you up all night?

I have always found great solace in this poem by e.e. cummings, and the rich complexity of loving so completely.

[somewhere i have never travelled]


somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands

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