Her name is so very important that I make sure it rolls off my lips every single day when I tell her how much I love her. She really was different from all the rest as cheesy as that may sound. Her beauty caught me off guard – those eyes, incredible, rich, deep, intoxicating. Her hair that I longed to have surround me, envelope me, embrace me. Her touch, communicating so very much through her hands – our bodies talking to each other without ever an audible word being spoken. I have enjoyed her as my partner over these last twenty some years, a loving embrace, a long midnight dance under the full moon, wishing the morning will never come.
My story up to this point included some chance encounters with her as she was on the fringes of the circles I walked in. We shared some of the same friends, which is how our paths would cross, but it would be fleeting at best, intriguing, and deeply interesting. Initially, she was the other youth who was baptized on that same Sunday morning. I never did get to see her be baptized as I was off drying and changing before receiving the rebuke from my grandmother for things spoken publicly.
When I was going out with the girl who I followed down to university she was dating my girlfriend’s younger brother. Upon occasion I would come across her walking down the street, her head looking at her feet as she walked, her long brown hair falling to each side, caught up in the breeze. We would pause and talk with one another as acquaintances might do, sharing pleasantries for a few minutes before continuing on our way.
When I came back to this valley city from the coast after my suicide attempt I had another chance encounter with her when I stopped by a friend’s house. She was friend’s with my friend’s younger sister. It was at this encounter that she caught my eye. I was intrigued with her and I wanted to know more about her but it was fleeting in the moment and I was caught up with another girlfriend full of drama and despair.
So, now, at the end of winter, with another failed relationship under my belt, and me seeking refuge in the mountains surrounding this valley city, contemplating my monk-ability, the last person on my mind was her – well any one really. I couldn’t stand the idea of my heart being broken once again and had resolved that the only way to prevent that from happening was to make sure it never loved again. This is akin to not feeling, which if you have ever tried it is actually quite a difficult thing to do.
We began to talk with one another, over the phone. This happened rather innocently, and as she was such a great conversationalist, and my heart longed to be listened to, I relished the opportunities to talk with her. They were brief conversations at first but as our love story has unfolded over these last couple of decades I have grown to a place where I long for her company, to sit with her and watch the hours pass us by as we enjoy conversation and the delicate dance of the spoken language that sweeps us off of our feet and takes us to faraway places, shared experiences between two lovers.
Our innocent encounters lead to an invitation from me to her one Sunday afternoon in early spring. A few youth had come over to my place after church and we were hanging out for the afternoon. I called her up, hoping she could come over as I had been quite enjoying her company already. She responded with a yes. As the afternoon wore on the group of us were talking with one another and I found myself sitting on the floor in front of her, both her legs at my side with my head leaned back into her.
She began to very gently and tentatively take her hands and stroke my hair. Cautiously, carefully, playfully she allowed her fingers to traverse my scalp, teasing the hair with her fingers, like two lovers chasing each other through a flowering meadow. Her fingers moved to longer strokes, and my body began to relax, melting into her even more, uncaring of my environment but caught up with the intensity of what was happening between us. She could tell that I was enjoying her touch but she wasn’t done telling me her story with her hands so they ventured out even further, reaching around to my brow, my cheekbones, and down around the base of my neck, finishing up along the sides of my jaw, just short of my lips.
This intense touch, this essay of love, went on for three hours that Sunday afternoon. As I write about it now, over twenty years later, almost a quarter century to be exact, there are tingles that go up my spine as my body recalls the intensity of that encounter, remembering every unspoken word my lover shared with me that sunny afternoon. We were not a couple – at least not at that point – but she had something to say to me and I was listening. I wanted to listen. I was drawn to her. I wanted to be near enough to hear her breathe, to smell her hair, to touch her incredibly soft skin. I wanted our breathes to be in sync with one another, resting in each other’s embrace.
My monk-ness was being challenged and I was okay with that for my heart was reminding me that it longed to be loved and to love. I was made for companionship and although I was a broken vessel, messy, bruised, and battered, she was okay with it all.
“You can talk with someone for years, everyday, and still, it won’t mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for forever…. connections are made with the heart, not the tongue.”
― C. JoyBell C.