My husband is in love with tennis. Maybe love is the wrong word. He has passion for tennis, passion for the experience, passion for the way his body moves and feels playing the game. It is his fountain of youth and his catnip.  He thinks about it, reads about it, and talks about it. He coaches tennis, goes away to tennis camps and hires teachers to show him how to become a better player.

I am not tennis. I am a woman he cares for and loves, but there is no passion. In the evenings we sit at our computers, reading or watching DVD’s to avoid what is not happening between us, the big white elephant in the room.

Yesterday we floated down the river ~ together and apart, not speaking. I was having fantasies of going up to fishermen standing on the shore and saying, would one of you make love to me please? I would like to have sex with a stranger. I want to cuddle up to the masculine and feel held, but I don’t want any part of what comes after. I don’t want to know the person, or see beneath the masculine exterior. I simply crave the beginning times when love is a warm inviting sensual bath and I’m not dealing with family, coffee spilled on the couch, or the ‘Why didn’t you call if you were going to be late,’ conversations.

I hoped our marriage would bring us closer together, not farther apart. But, instead of developing the trust that leads to more openness and touching, I have been learning to do without him, to let him go, to live my life alone, as I did before.

Last week, moments before he walked out the door on a camping trip, he came into the bathroom. I was combing my hair as he slipped his arms around me and said, You are so beautiful, I am a lucky boy, I mean man, and he was a man in that moment. In that instant, I was with the man that found me beautiful and desirable, the man I fell in love with, the man I married. I was with my husband. I felt stirrings of intimate feelings, the first I’d known in a very long time. I wanted to go to bed with him and love him and hold him. I wanted to remember us as we used to be. Then it was over, time for him to leave to go camping with his son.

This man used to grab me by the hand and say, come with me, come out into the world. We are 60. We can do whatever we want. But now his spirit has dampened and his desires have disappeared; now he is compliant, I don’t care. Whatever you want. What do you want to do?

He is willing to go where I choose, but his mind is too busy with tennis, running a pallet company and making time for his family to think of ‘us.’ The time that we need is seen as a distraction, a diversion from things that are important. ‘We’ can always wait, as in the unspoken, Are we done yet, cause I have to leave?

I’d like to go to Europe and live for awhile in Italy, France, Spain or Greece. I’d like to let my artist soar and the healer in me rest. I’d like to ride along the Italian Rivera on a motor scooter and settle into a little villa where sunlight greets me each morning and I am inspired to create. I want to escape to a better version of myself.

I fear this marriage side of me comes from a conservative out-moded value system, one I mistakenly ingested like bad pasta. I have tried over and over and over again to make it work, but in the end it becomes nothing more than a settling, while specialness and delights are found away from one another in the company of other people.

The Cosmic Fireman

fireman1My husband, Gib, is a crazy man. He is full out insane. I only have to be with him for moments before the quiet pond I live in is filled with crashing waves and turmoil.

I have read that the Gods protect children and fools. Gib does not fit on the child shelf, so you know what’s left.

The fool is an ancient archetype in the Tarot, his feet barely touch the earth, he is the embodiment of freedom and travel. The fool remains unhurt when stepping off a cliff. His essence is full of grace and an unspoken faith that calls the Gods to place a pillow where a cement wall might reside. His is a faith without words or structure, which summons unseen forces on his behalf.

Gib is the kindest man I have ever known. He lives without judgment or criticism of others, and will exhaust himself for a cause. His wood pallet company is crashing, a company he never wanted, a company he inherited from a family too broken to care. He has worked night and day to breathe life into it, going without pay and using his own funds, so the Mexican men who are employed there will not lose their jobs. When it was time to lay them off from lack of work, he decided to bring in an English teacher instead, so they could be paid to better their lives. I believe this company will die this month, a victim of the recession. It can not be resurrected on the back and good intentions of a single man. I will be delighted to see it go, but he will lose sleep worrying about the families who will suffer from lack of income.

He has coached tennis at Century High School for the past six years. They threatened to close the program if no one came forward to save it. And so he did. He gives of himself again and again in a million small and very large ways. I respect and admire that in him. He is supposed to be retired, but the concept lives in a different orbit than his deeds.

Gib is a cosmic fireman, running around throwing his time, love, and energy on every fire he sees. Sometimes, I get very angry about this, since I am not on fire. But in the end, it’s just as well. That is what he is here to do, and it allows me to go back to my quiet pond.