…He knows why I don’t come to bed after him; knows why I sit out here on the fire escape at night listening to the city. I’m sure he knows even though he doesn’t say anything. And I love him for that. He doesn’t sleep either; I know him. He lays in bed staring at the ceiling or the walls or into the mirror at the foot of our bed and waits for me, closing his eyes just as I come into the room…I don’t know what he thinks about; he’s a quiet man. I think I love him. For fourteen years I’ve thought that, and I’m sure I love my children and our overweight sheepdog. I don’t want to be alone; who does? And so I…love. And not with gifts of flowers or valentines or bad poems but with breakfast and dinner, sewn buttons and a clean bathroom. I’m a wife and a mother. And I need glasses more and more and I seem to cry for no reason and I’m suddenly afraid and I don’t want to be afraid because that’ll mean something’s wrong and where would I go? I’m a wife and a mother. And I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be in love like I’ve forgotten Tuesdays or what my first lover looked like or if I even had one and I don’t want to be alone. And I want to cry for a reason.
She sits by herself and I think about her silence and I wish I knew her because I need to know her before it’s too late. I will say that I love her because that’s easy and she’s my wife and maybe I don’t know what the word means although I’m absolutely positive I did once, before I started waking at 5:30 to the alarming of a clock. I will says that I love her because I need to hear it and I feel something leaving me I can’t explain, something which, I think, is more profound than…time. I will say that I love her because yesterday morning I looked in the bathroom mirror and saw only a reflection. I need to grab hold of what is leaving even if it never existed…and so I…love. And in my love I quickly forget what I remember about how it once was, before the children, even before the expectation. When I whispered to her poems I believed in; when I couldn’t speak and she would understand. When we both still believed two people could live the same life…
I love you.