Opposite me sits a man who has fallen asleep. He sits on the floor, leaning against the couch. His head is back, his mouth is open, he is gently snoring. And when he wakes up a few minutes later he will say, “Laura, is there anything I can get for you?”
“No,” I will say because there isn’t anything I want and because I know that if I say something he will get up from the floor immediately.
That scene is the scene of my life since Kenny moved here in mid-October. The asking what he can do for me, and the fulfilling of those responses. And beyond that: the attempt to figure out what my responses would be before I formulate them. My life has changed since he has come into my life not only because I share my bed and my table and the minutes of my life with a wonderful man, but because my expectations for my life and how I will be treated and responded to have changed.
He tells me that I put everyone before myself. I ask, “Is that true?” because it doesn’t feel that way; I feel that I put myself before everyone else. But his contention, from observing me and hearing the stories of my days, presents angles of myself which I have never seen. And I appreciate those angles which come from his intense honesty and deep respect. “Refreshing” is too pale a word to sustain the thought that I am finally being reflected off a person who sees me in sunny tones because he, too, is a sunbeam. To be able to finally and fully discard the horror shop image of a woman that was presented to me for years is refreshing and life affirming. Surely it should have been done before, but until I had loving words to override the spite-filled ones there was always space in my mind for echoes.
Is there a way to thank a man beyond loving him?
“Aye,” as he would say. There is coming up with answers to his question. There is the independent woman who can manage on her own, and there is the independent woman who can manage on her own who learns that strength can be found when two lean against each other. So, “Aye, Kenny, you could read this post.”