“Do you think I’m crazy to start a relationship with someone who has ended a twenty two year marriage?” M asks me.
I smile. The fact that he called me, someone who used to fling herself into love with the caution of a puppy, should give him his answer. “Have you slept together?”
“No. But we’ve kissed. She’s a really good kisser.”
Again, I smile. I’m glad we’re on the phone. M is the kind of person who gets agitated at the slightest hint of mockery. Even in curved lips.
“You sound worried. What are you worried about?” I ask.
Pause. Silence. I can hear him looking inside for the answer. I wait. I know that some fragment of truth is coming.
“That I’ll be in and she won’t be.”
“Yeah. I get it. That’s the risk.”
“I hate it.”
“That’s a lie. You love love.”
It’s M’s turn to be silent.
“It sounds to me like you are crossing a small threshold. Not big. Like marriage. Or moving in together. Or having a child. Small. Tell her. And then ask her if she’s crossing it with you.”
I don’t have to say the part about how, if she understands the question, if she says yes, this delicate threshold will pass beneath their feet. M understands these little events of the heart.
I’ve learned to savor them.
I’ve learned to notice every delicious step toward intimacy.
I’ve learned to pause after the eye twinkling flirt and linger a little longer in a conversation.
I’ve learned to relish how two different people come to understand each other.
I’ve learned to delight in each tiny threshold into love.