For years, he treated me with respect and adoration though there were times of mixed signals, crossed purposes and common misunderstandings. He honored me by asking of my thoughts, opinions and knowledge.
It was his intent to protect and to cherish as though I were someone of great value, a young maiden of innocence and purity. He became obstinate and insufferable when I chose a path that would carry me away from him.
He felt safe with me and revealed his vulnerability. He invited me into his private life and his home. Those that knew him knew of his high regard of me. What he failed to comprehend, or was too fearful to contemplate, was that the young maiden was simply a woman longing for love.
The years passed one by one and life became a bitter teacher to both. Lessons that came that brought suffering and loss, sadness and isolation, depression and defeat. Faith lingered for one and rebelled in the other. Slowly time allowed both to revive and their paths again crossed by happenstance one day.
She sat in wonder before him at the changes in herself, when she recalled how over the moon about him she once felt. She celebrated her growth and maturity and allowed herself the freedom to simply enjoy being reunited with him if only for the moment.
He sat in humility and gratitude to once again have a friend before him. The years had not been kind; rejection and condemnation always seemed knocking at his heart’s door. His mind could not fathom the hypocrisy and his heart had grown crusty and faint.
Now when we face each other across the table at a social gathering, in an office discussing the business of life or side by side in a vehicle on life’s errand, we see more clearly but yet still not always eye to eye.
He still treats me with greatest respect and his regard for me is as high as ever. Every action and movement toward me is still to protect and to cherish. We laugh together at aches and pains, joints that freeze and minds that fail. He appreciates the woman who I am and yet, that young maiden is still what he sees when he looks at me. That he loves me, no one can deny. In his own words, he has told me so.
Sometimes it is alarming when I come face to face with his kind of love. It is unfiltered, raw and it runs deep. It is given from the soul and in kind, the soul feels and receives it. It is intense and electric, palpable even by the casual observer. Contradictory and yet somehow true, it is also pure, free of salacious element. It is all-encompassing when I am with him and at parting, the heart is renewed yet already grieving.
The love of one man both empowers me and entraps me. It frees me so that I want to dance. It scares me so that I have to fight the urge to run.