Brave Affairs

He lies stretched out in the dark and I lay long beside him, listen to him breathe, only sound there is. This is our love story, the one we’ve written with years and skin and the rings.

In his sleep, he finds my hand.

It’s the only one I’ve known. His only, hands larger than the rest. Hand in mine, that wraps around a waist, draws in close, slumbering strength always holding on.

I don’t know how another man’s skin feels.

My grandmother lived that kind of courage. The kind that made a vow and had the bravery to let it age. Wrinkled faithfulness of monogamy, pedestrian, the kind that finishes well, parades up through the Arc de Triomphe, battle scarred, and the tourists blithely shuffle by and the pigeons take to oblivious wing. She told me about this.

I remember it, nights like these.

The cry’s for love, tearing howl until our throat rasps. Man become husband, man not husband, man, just tickle curve of ear that we are beautiful, feel the splendor-power of our skin, caress us with want. We want that. The bravest hear it here, in the bathroom with the toilet seat up, in the bed where he snores, in the already-won eyes and feel the allure of the vows.

I feel his skin. His hand on me rises with my every breath. We do this. The exultation of monotony crowns the brave hearts, eyes that perpetually, perennially, look long to make the familiar new. She washed his underwear for fifty six years, and it was always enough and good.

Warm it falls on nape of my neck, his sleep breath, close. I press closer. The drama’s in the long faithfulness, and aged love is the heroic. God knows the passion of a covenant.

His stubble rubs my shoulder. He makes me, shape and rib, and my head’s full of how we’ve known each other and how still he is mystery and how the want is all his. We sleep in matrimony and it is holy.

The love we’ve made breathes heavy in their beds.

Lord, by Your grace alone, help us keep the ardency, the vows, the two-skins-made-one. The courage and the white flame is in the covenant.

What a man can do to a woman
How can I be a better wife?

Photos: our wedding rings
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