Falling in love is frightening. He fills me with equal measures of liquid, contented joy and rigid, icy fear.
I feel myself becoming more and more enamoured, closer to him, investing more fully in him as every day passes. I feel myself falling into belief, the fluttering hope building and swelling like a wave of possibility that crashes over me day and night.
I miss him fiercely when we are apart, though in comparison with previous lovers during this past five years post-marriage, that time is measured only in days rather than weeks.
We see each other in every spare block of hours, me still careful not to expect too much and him, conversely, wanting to make up for lost time and immerse himself in me.
He calls me ‘my love’ and whispers caressing words with adoration and desire. He makes me feel like a goddess and that is somehow right, and yet deeply alien, as if I haven’t yet cast off my ash-and-memory wings that tie me to the earthly plain of my bitter lived experience.
“What we could be
if we stopped carrying
of who we were.”
– Tyler Knott Gregson
We talk rapturously of our time ahead, both certain in our brimming hearts and entangled bodies that there will be a future, that we have days and months and years to explore each other, to revel in unknown discoveries and unshed tears and acres of togetherness.
Touch binds us at all times – if not the stroking of each other’s skins or limbs, it is the sweet memory of bonding, of sexual ecstasy, of lips locked and tongues tickling.
We talk of the past with fearless, open minds ready to accept anything. I have no qualms about sharing my innermost experiences and painful memories, for they are dusted by the times gone and do not taint our future.
I want to hear every thought he ever had, vicariously sense past yearnings so that I can learn him bone by bone. I want no stone uncovered, no nook left shadowy and no centimetre of his skin untouched.
I am slower to reveal myself, but I am learning to trust, and yield to his gentle questions, his genuine interest and his tactile exploration. He can have my body and do with it what he wishes; I can’t get enough of his touch and I hunger for it day and night. But my mind and spirit? That is yet to be unearthed and mined for wealth, trauma and unidentified pockets of golden bliss.
I thought my unnamed dread was banished or resolved – freed – but then a misread text message brought it back in full heart-stopping, breath-holding glory.
“I’m sorry for the past month,” he says and I read it as a Goodbye, as a feeble apology for cracking my healing heart apart with a badly timed axe blow.
All is explained moments later – he is sorry that, because of his children, he can’t be with me 24 hours a day – but those 10 minutes stretched as a painted gauzy veil between me and my fledgling trust.
My whole body froze and I sensed the fingers of dread clutch me in every part of my body. I felt humiliation rise like a gorge in my throat. The whole of me went into brief shock, like a microsleep at the wheel of my car, while I waited for an explanation of what he meant.
Half expected to read I’m sorry I’ve lied to you but I’ve changed my mind I’m still in love with my ex-wife I’ve met someone else I never meant to get this involved in just over a month I’m afraid and I really can’t give you everything I thought I was falling in love with you but I was wrong goodbye.
Instead my Good Man explains that he feels bad that he hasn’t been as flexible as he would have liked. That he’s crazy for me, that he doesn’t stop thinking of me…more sweet words of adoration and desire than I can take in.
I let the relief wash over me. I recognise the reaction for what it is – rogue past experiences, memories flooding back, betrayals exposed and hope retreating.
But I won’t let my past sully my future. I am a new woman unshackled and free to live my best life. I want a fresh start with my Good Man, and I am taking it with both hands holding tightly.