Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Simple Man & A Complex Woman (The Dushi Ode)

Dushi, happy birthday.  This is probably not the kind of birthday "card" you expected, is it?  You're not a public kind of man, I know, and I'm sorry that I chose this very public forum to say Happy Birthday.  I didn't do it to embarrass you.

You see, words are the only gift I have to give.  And, as it is, they're not much.

We've been together for a long time now, and I like to think you know me pretty well.  You know how intense I am, how conflicted, how voluble and disperse.  I'm sorry for bringing my conflicts into your life, but I'm forever grateful that you understand--how do you do it?  How do you put your own self aside and step into my shoes, so gracefully and quiet, like a shadow?  And--why?

You changed my life, dushi.  In so many ways--some, probably, that I haven't even realized.  You ground me.  You give my life substance.  You make me matter.  And, in your company, the turmoil that lives in my heart and in my head finds quiet, settles and soothes itself into rest.

I must have done something good, in this life or in past ones, to be allowed this time with you.  I don't know how long it will last--we hope forever, but one never knows.  You are so different from every other man I've ever known, so alien in so many ways, that it took me a while to believe.  And yet--there you are.  Every morning, every bedtime.  Puttering in the kitchen on Saturday evenings--how I love your cooking, and the meticulous way you slice and dice, the way leeks are a staple of every food you make (okay, almost every food).  Sitting across from me with a magazine, or a book, or absorbed in your laptop, chuckling quietly at whatever funny thing you've come across.

Have I told you how much I like your laughter?  You don't laugh--really laugh--often, but when you do, a warmth spreads inside my belly, and my heart finds wings.

Yes, here you are, with me.  Still.  And I still don't understand why you'd want this for yourself.  You are a simple man, of simple pleasures, and I--well, I'm a complex woman, of moods and dark sides.  I complicate your life, I know it--and yet, here you are.  You're a man of routines, and I'm a rule-breaker.  You're a careful shopper, and I'm a terror with money.  You don't understand poetry, that lifeline of mine.  I don't understand soccer, no matter how many times you've tried to explain.

And yet, here we are.  A happy couple.  In spite of the differences, or, perhaps, because of them.  Maybe it's because there's something deeper, something visceral and strong as iron, underlying the apparent contrasts, and it pulls us together, like a gravitational force?  Maybe it's because you're tolerant, and understanding.

I don't know, dushi.  But I don't question it much, not anymore.  I know that, whatever the reason, it's a binding one.  I cannot imagine my life without you in it--I can hardly imagine how I survived, whole and without a psychotic break, for so many years before I met you.

Happy, happy birthday, dushi.


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