Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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We’ve been together two years now.
I’ve seen you with a plastic shield over your eyes after the cataract operation, your surgeon’s initials inked above your eyebrows so the interns could wheel you into the right room.
You’ve seen me crying in my old flannel nightgown.
Sometimes I don’t brush my teeth before we kiss.
But I still touch your cold ears when you come back from a walk and think they’re beautiful; I still love the slope of your back just before it flares into your buttocks.
For years I was so lonely I told my friends, I just want to hear someone cough in the next room, and one morning you coughed in the bathroom and woke me up, and I was annoyed. Then I started laughing.
I love the way you fold your hands when we meditate together, the same hands, worn and cracked with age, that stroke my thighs. Sometimes I sneak a look at you so I can see your closed eyes, your wish to be still.
We don’t take each other for granted, because we know we’re old. Sometimes when we’re bird-watching — field guides, binoculars — happy to be looking at egrets or green-winged teal, I think, One of us is going to die first.
Once, years before I met you, I was so angry I hit my punching bag hard enough to dent the wall behind it; there were flakes of plaster all over the floor. I’ve never seen you furious, though I’ve seen you exasperated at the news. I’ve never heard you say anything mean — you don’t have a mean bone in your body.
I do: I have a mean bone.
Every so often we fall into a disappointment, and it feels as if we’ve fallen into a ditch wet with rain.
I love that you read six books at once.
I love that you always say to your dog, Enjoy your dinner.
I no longer put my hairbrush on top of your hairbrush in the bathroom as a way to flirt.
But we laugh when we bump into each other in the hall. And sometimes, when I lift the gray hair at the back of your neck and kiss your shoulder, I think, This is it.