“You still don’t know the difference between then and than. It cracks me up.”
I smiled and laughed.
“Don’t care, not wrapped up in grammar. I have forgotten more than most people ever learn because it is not important to me. Probably sounds shocking because I am a writer, but it is true. I love stories. I love layers. I love texture and nuance and those are far more interesting to me.”
“You can be so sensitive. What is your deal Johnny boy.”
“June, you know me in ways that no one else does or ever has but the one thing you never seem to get is how very different I am with you. Ask some of the boys and they will tell you that they think it is funny how I don’t care what anyone says or thinks. You are among the handful. So yeah, sometimes I might be extra sensitive with you because I am not used to being hurt.”
I watched her eyes get wide and I realized I had been much sharper with my response than I meant to be.
“You do know that part of what I love about you, part of what makes you so special and this so different is how honest and direct we are. Sometimes it is so very raw, but it is part of us. You do know that I love all of you woman, even when you make me nuts.”
She shook her head and asked me how I could make a non apology sound poetic.
“It wasn’t a non apology. It was just poorly worded. Come here.”
When I took her hand and pulled she rolled her eyes at me but still melted against me.
“Hey there mister, why is your hand pushing on my head. That is a little aggressive, isn’t it.”
I didn’t have to see her face to see the smile in her eyes.
“Baby, I am not trying to do what you think I am. I just wanted to put your head against my chest.”
“Yeah, sure you did.”
“No, really, I had this idea about how I was going to put your head against my heart and tell you that you have it all.”
I felt her hand playing with my zipper.
“You mean, you don’t want this. Well, I don’t want to force you into doing anything you don’t want to do.”
You can describe that as being one of those moments where time stood still. It kind felt like I was standing on on a seesaw and was trying to keep my balance.
I needed a witty response, something that was clever, thoughtful and meaningful but I had nothing.
Hell, it felt like the woman had somehow managed to transport me back to high school and I felt awkward and stupid and didn’t know why.
“Johnny, I can’t believe we are not going to spend New Year’s Eve together. Will we ever? Will we ever have our time?”
I didn’t hesitate.
“Yes we will.”
“Johnny, you said that for years but it didn’t happen. Why did you drag your feet? We could have already started our life together.”
“June, we have. When you close your eyes at night you always see mine staring back at you. When you are sad you know my arms are around you and you know that I have moved heaven and earth to get to you. What makes you think that I can’t or won’t do it again.”
She kissed me and I tried to decide if it was goodbye or thank you.
When we pulled apart I put my head on her chest and listened.
“Can you hear my heart racing?”
“Yeah, come here.”
She settled back in my arms and I leaned forward.
“I know things. You may think it is silly and ridiculous for me to say but I promise you I do and if you hold my hand and walk with me we will figure it out.”
“What if I don’t? What if I get scared? What if I decide I can’t do it?”
She never said any of those things out loud but I heard them the same way I always had. We didn’t always require words to share a moment or to express a feeling. We didn’t need caller ID or any of that other stuff to know what was going on because we always just knew.
And the thing is that when you just know you are still prone to moments where you think maybe you really didn’t. Moments where you think that maybe you didn’t understand.
So silently reminded her she has always been my north star and that I have needed a map to find her. I just know how. The same way I know how to calm her heart and make her feel secure.
She sighed once and relaxed more deeply in my arms and I decided that she had heard me and then I made one more promise to always find a way to climb over any wall she erected and to prove that I meant what I said.
Driving through the desert I kept hearing the echoes of “yes we will” and though I was confident I couldn’t help but wonder why “yes we will” didn’t come with a time and date.