23 January 2024

 When you are born, presumably (and hopefully) loving care is provided to you without your knowing you need it, and without your asking.


At some point - maybe between 5 and 10 - you find a playmate you feel "differently" about. Nothing memorable passes between you, but a change has come.


By  about 17, you share your first kiss. Preliminarily, it may be an unplanned, mistaken brushing of lips that inadvertently came close to one another. There is a pause, then a return for a longer, deeper exploration of this new feeling. Although nothing has really changed, you both suddenly feel it best to avoid horizontal surfaces when alone together.


 A time comes when you both find you no longer want to avoid horizontal surfaces, and intensifying kisses suddenly require accompanying body contact. The first time is memorable  but, by later standards, probably not that great. The importance is in the fact that you've held each other, and touched each other, and a new world has opened up to you.


  For the next year, or five years, or twenty-five years, or sixty years, or whatever you're given, you improve your knowledge of one another. Sometimes, there's passion. Sometimes, just friendly coupling. Looking back, the parts that seem most important - most memorable - are the kiss goodnight, the lying side by side through the night, and the waking up together in the morning.


  Then, suddenly, you are old and you are alone. The days are okay - you know how to keep busy - but you sit on the edge of your bed each night, waiting for the kiss that will never come. You lay on the bed and pull the covers over you, but it's just you. No friendly, familiar head on your shoulder. No body lying near you. No warm back for you to put your warm front against, as you drift off to sleep. No one in your bed, but you, next morning.


The nights and the weeks go by, and  what you knew all along has become real. You're in your '80s, and there aren't going to be any more kisses. There isn't going to be anyone sharing your bed for as long as you live. You hope it isn't too long.

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 © Sanford Wilbur 2024