I won’t leave him. He is the only man I won’t ever leave. I am learning tolerance. I am learning to embrace the faults of another with compassion and love. Whenever I think of going I remember our mutual birthday. There is something about coming into the world on the same day that binds us more strongly than I would have imagined. It’s like being separate roots on the same tree. We are sun and moon. Our differences repel, attract and bind.

The Celtic weave on our wedding ring is knotted, but not a tight knot. It does not suck the air from a room or become a hand closing the flow of freedom. No, this pattern is a loose open weave, expansive, and solid.

I have come to allow his forgetfulness and distractibility, and have learned to embrace his child-self who bounds into each new day with excitement and expectation, but resists domestic chores and limit setting.

He has stretched to love me also. He is an excitable extravert, who had to incorporate my solitary nature, my need for electronic-free living and my shunning of his boisterous friends.

This man belongs to me and I to him. We are different and the same. We are a pair of shoes together and apart. My granddaughter, Britan, says, Grandma, you married one of a kind!  She shakes her head at his quirky eccentricities, all the while being drawn into his orbit by his open-hearted generosity and playful acceptance.

He is patient with me, endlessly patient, while I am more often impatient and short-tempered with him. When I call to apologize, he waves me off. Oh Karen, Your moods don’t bother me at all. You’re wonderful and amazing just the way you are. Really, don’t give that another thought.

He thinks I’m a rock star, an undiscovered gem. He holds my identity with a full respect that I have trouble affording myself.  If I said, Gib, I need you to drive across the United States for me, he would reply, when shall I leave?

I have been with many men, all chosen for the wrong reasons, or attracted from father pain. Gib came after a drought and a desire to live alone rather than continuing to hurt myself in that way.

Oh, don’t get me wrong! The man has put me through hell with inconsiderate actions, dysfunctional family and a very real fear of being close, but somehow this is different. I love him and can stay, because his actions are not born of abuse, rather they are signs of adjusting to a life together after many years of living lost.

I am not his wife in any traditional sense. I won’t take his name or his diamonds.

I just want to be ‘us’ together, two people, caring and walking side by side for as many days as we have left.

written July 16, 2008