Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Young Intimacy, Old Intimacy

On a recent sunny morning, my son-in-law sat in a chair on one side of the small, square kitchen table. His new wife sat kitty corner from him on an adjoining side. He turned his chair to face hers, took her hands in his and focused his clear hazel eyes exclusively on her big brown eyes with those lovely long lashes. He created an intimacy so sweet, so ardent and so real that I lowered my eyes, as one does when in the presence of luminous beings. I began noiselessly to edge out of the room, but not quickly enough. In his endearing Australian lilt I overheard him declare gently to her, “I will not participate in the Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan on New Year’s Day.”

My husband came home Monday night thoroughly worn out from a challenging day at work followed by an evening obligation. He arrived as I was finishing the second load of laundry. This is an ongoing if obnoxious daily ritual: two loads of laundry occasioned by my urinary incontinence. No matter what I have done to prevent this, every morning for at least a month I have awoken with the sheets, my nightwear and two towels meant to absorb the outflow soaked through. I was too tired – whoa, not a strong enough word – utterly exhausted  to begin the laundry before evening. 

I carried the warm sheets from the dryer up the stairs to the bedroom. Then we took turns trying to get the fitted sheet onto the bed. Two people running on empty struggling to literally figure out which end was up. Despite our 0-to-60-in-3-seconds frustration, we said nothing lest we bark at each other, and we did not make eye contact lest we glare. Finally we accomplished it. Then we draped our weary arms around each other and our lips found each other’s, as they have for 40 years. It was tender affirmation that our restraint, our kindness and our respect in those trying minutes were intimacy of the most valiant kind

© Jean DiMotto, 2011   Website: www.jeandimotto.com  

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