Last night I found the love of my life. She was drowning in a shallow pool of muddy water, not far from my door. I rescued her, gently carried her home, revived her and tenderly washed her body clean as she trembled beneath my gentlest touch. Her tears soon dried as she found herself protected, safe, dry, warm, and lovingly placed on a comfy couch. I stared at her for hours as she slept, captivated by her beauty and grace, even in sleep. I could not take my eyes away from her. She had not spoken a word to me, but that did not matter. I could feel a connection between us at a level beyond that of mere words. It is as though my whole life had been nothing more than a winding path leading to her side. I knew instinctively that we would never be apart.
When she awoke, I stared at her eyes which seemed to hold flecks of gold, silver and copper unlike anything I’d ever seen before, giving her an exotic, other-worldly appearance. She stared at me for the longest time, wide-eyed and unblinking. I smiled at her trying to reassure her that all would be well. In time I asked her whether she wanted me to take her anywhere in particular, but she seemed to draw back, averting her eyes, communicating without words that she did not have a home. I sensed what I took to be her fear I that I might take her back to the sidewalk where I had found her. Her reaction simply broke my heart. I tried to reassure her that she would have a home with me for as long as she wanted it. She seemed relieved and I thought I could see her gently shudder as one sometimes does after a good cry. I placed her close to me and she seemed happy and content. We eventually both fell asleep together on my couch, with me cradling her gently in my arms. I had not known such peaceful, restful sleep in decades.
Over the next months we became inseparable. She sat next to me as I wrote, my muse and silent critic. I could look at her and know when she thought my words needed revision or when I was writing myself into a corner as I sometimes do. At such times she giggled like the tinkling of tiny bells—the most wonderful sound I’ve ever heard. She listened with endless patience and empathy as I shared my fears, hopes and dreams and eventually entrusted me with her own. My wife was away as she often is during this time of year, and I opted not to tell her about my new love. There was no point in doing so as I knew her reaction would be derisive or, worse, perhaps one of relief. Moreover, the relationship with my new soul mate was strictly platonic and would remain so. We would never consummate our love as that was impossible for us both under our current circumstances. We never discussed that; it was simply a given. Nevertheless, we grew very close, as close as any two beings could ever be, uncaring that sex could never be a part of our relationship. This was not a real problem for me as forced celibacy is something the majority of men married for decades know only too well, if not happily. It would be a small sacrifice and one I was more than willing to make for a spiritual closeness I never imagined possible.
Unlike my wife who screams at me regularly whenever we’re together or speak over the phone, my true love never once so much as gave me a dour look. I had grown accustomed to finding peace by spending most of my time in a room other than that which my wife occupied at any given time—preferably one on a different floor and different wing of the house. With my new love, however, the exact opposite was true. She seemed happy only when near me, and I knew peace only when she was by my side. We seemed to have formed an almost symbiotic relationship, drawing strength from a closeness that had nothing to do with possessiveness or jealousy but grew out of a pure, powerful love that seemed to hold us both captured in its orbit.
I could gently caress her for hours without her complaining that I was mussing up her makeup or her hair—or smacking my hand away, telling me to stop making a pest of myself. She never pulled away if I wanted to hold her during an entire movie. And she never once complained that I cooked too much food or tried to sabotage her diet by bringing home loads of the unhealthy, high fat and sugary snacks I love. Her willpower was incredible—I could have plunked her in a bathtub full of the most delectable ice cream and she’d just lie there smiling impishly or sticking out her tongue at me, without taking so much as a single bite or complaining about the cold. But she thoroughly enjoyed seeing me eat, and, unlike my wife, never complained that I chewed my food too noisily, ate too fast, or did not use a plate and dropped too many crumbs if I decided to eat a cookie while watching television.
Like my wife who is also a good cook but sees cooking as a chore, she preferred to let me do the cooking; but unlike my wife she thoroughly enjoyed watching me cook my favorite dishes, or inventing something completely new without a recipe, flying by the seat of my pants as is my preferred method of gastronomic experimentation. I could feel her trying so hard not to laugh at some of the monumental failures of some of these experiments, but much more often saw her beam with pride at the more frequent successes, though she herself seemed to live on nothing but love and air.
She never complained about my wanting to watch a football game or when I railed against a referee’s bad call—or at a newscaster’s inventing rather than reporting the news, for that matter. She never hoarded the remote, unlike my wife who always shoots a feral look in my direction and growls softly if I so much as look at the damned thing that is always firmly clutched in her hands whenever we watch television together. Nor did she ever interrupt the shows I love at the very worst possible moment by reading to me whatever caught her attention on her tablet at that moment and then complaining endlessly if I did not pay close attention (quizzes would often follow) to whatever the Duchess of Who Knows Where had said or done or what new outrageous lunacy was being spouted by the latest contender for the nomination for president.
I’ve always preferred strong, independent, highly intelligent women. Most men have a favorite part of the female anatomy that they fixate on—breasts, thighs, legs, bottoms (some will even occasionally claim eyes, noses or lips, though I suspect they’re lying). I like curves and reproductive organs as much as the next guy, forced celibacy notwithstanding (and yes, eyes, lips, noses, earlobes legs, feet, arms, hands, fingers and toes too, for that matter). But by far my favorite, and unquestionably the sexiest, female organ of all is the brain.
Men are nothing if not easy to read and understand—and not just when it comes to our favorite body parts or recreational activities. We are as easy to manipulate as a cat in a dark room by someone wielding a laser pointer. But women are a species altogether different. The average man can no more understand the working of a woman’s mind than he can explain the finer points of quantum mechanics, quantum entanglement, or the physics that underlie spooky action at a distance. (In fairness, neither could Einstein who was one of the brightest among us.) A smart woman can look a man in the eyes for a minute and read his heart, his soul and guesstimate his I.Q. with roughly 95 percent accuracy, and likely the balance in his savings account. A smart man looks a woman in the eyes and sees . . . blue, green, hazel, grey, brown or, more likely, breasts.
Women pay attention and notice (and, alas, remember forever) absolutely E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. The survival of the species depends on it as men would generally be oblivious if their three-year-old child took a nap on a busy street, played with porcupines or tried to ride a bear cub who wondered into the back yard as a pony if there’s a game on (and even if there’s not). Women are great at multitasking. Men can usually walk and chew gum at the same time, but that’s pretty much the extent of our multitasking ability.
Women often expect men to be able to read their minds, just because they can so easily read ours. (Here’s a newsflash ladies, WE CAN’T. I know you’ll find it hard to believe, but it’s true. You can torture us about it until the cows come home but that will change nothing.) And they love to act as judge, jury and executioner in determining our guilt for real and imagined transgressions alike—due process of law be damned. I’ve been sentenced to the silent treatment for weeks on end without a clue as to what horrible transgression I’d committed. Asking for an explanation of the charges, let alone trying to mount an actual defense when we might have an inkling as to what they may be, merely gets a loud tongue lashing from the bench, with additional time added to the sentence for contempt of court—kind of like getting a red card in football (soccer for my American friends who believe football means America’s adoption of a more violent form of rugby with body armor and inscrutable rules) for arguing after getting booked by the referee.
Unlike judges, wives are likely to literally (and not just metaphorically) throw the book (or anything else close to hand) at husbands who have the temerity to question the charges against them. Attempting to actually mount a defense is the only remaining crime to which capital punishment is gleefully accepted by the fairer sex (pun, not sexism, intended). But none of that applies my new, true love. The most I ever get is a gentle look that could be interpreted as mild disappointment—never anger or disapproval—on the rare (but not unheard of) occasion that I make a complete ass of myself.
I’ve often said that every woman is beautiful in her own way at every age (by which I mean the overwhelming majority of women with some notable exceptions, if I’m being completely honest) and know this to be true. I’ve always been partial to petite women myself and have fallen in love with a couple of them in the past. My new love fits that category as well, though she is slight even for my taste. Nevertheless, I find her body nothing short of perfect—hard, beautiful curves, yet small in a way that makes me want to protect her. Don’t misunderstand me—she is rock-solid and more than capable of cracking the hardest skull of any would-be assailant. She can more than take care of herself and would shake her head and regale me with the sound of her musical laughter if she suspected I feel a need to protect her. Unlike my wife, however, any man looking at her other than through my eyes would not likely find her to be objectively beautiful. There is little chance of construction workers breaking into the song “Some Guys Have All the Luck” as happened on occasion when my wife and I walked down the street when we were dating and the song was still new. (True story—I was so annoyed once that I turned around and replied “some guys deserve it” to the cheeky guys singing while longingly staring at my wife (girl friend at the time) as we approached, walked by the worksite, and continued on.) But that matters little. Outer beauty fades in time--even for painfully beautiful women, of which I’ve also known a few. But not the inner beauty of my true love that has been hers long before I met her and will be hers long after I turn to dust.
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