I pull up my duvet and roll towards the other side of the bed, where you were a few hours before. The empty creases on the bed sheet have taken your form and I find myself grazing the outline with my fingers, to soak whatever of you has stayed behind. A lingering haze of sleep sits somewhere at the back of my mind, but I wrestle with it in the dark to remain with you a little longer. The night is now playing tricks on my drowsy mind, and I can almost swear I see the faint shadow of our entwined forms kissing through the blinds. I can hear the world fall away as your hand rests against my ear, your thumb caressing my cheek as our breaths slowly mingle into one. As your hands travel upward into my hair, the kiss turns deeper and more urgent. I angle my head ever-so-slightly to let my parted lips swallow just a slice of air before I can give in. I sigh. You aren’t here, after all. I try to take a deep breath to make myself fall into slumber- but it is caught in my throat, ever since your kiss caged it in. I know it is going to be a long night- so I plop myself up against the pillow you had slept in, and pick that half-read book from the nightstand. Between turning pages and watching the narrow blocks of artificial yellow glow from the streetlamps sneaking in through the gaps, I fall asleep. And dream of you.
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As the sunlight smudges the sleepy monochrome of the sky to rouse colors a hundred shades of bright and brilliant, I wake up. “Good morning hon,” I hear, as the door bursts open and the smell of coffee and toast fills the room. I have barely opened my mouth to return the greeting when I feel his lips on mine. Not tender, but insistent and demanding- like he has a claim to me, a claim like no other. My arms reach up and tangle around his strong neck, my body arching up into his’ to allow the room to dissolve from the heat. As we break for air, I splay my hand across his chest, intending to push him away but he knows me far too well and takes it in his own to kiss my fingers. Shaping my kiss-aching lips into a complaining pout, I tell him he never missed me or he wouldn’t have been so long…and he kisses me back to tell me all his time is mine. I want to play it a li’l more, so I roll my eyes and ask, “is it?’ “Yes, my wifey, for now and forever,” he says, sealing it with another kiss that melts the room from sight.
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As I get ready for work, I watch him stealing quick glances in my direction, like he’d years ago in the classroom or at the play rehearsals in college or when I was walking down the aisle. I blow him a kiss in the mirror and he catches it mid-air, like it belongs with him, for every second it is. After twelve years of marriage, most people’d kill for moments like these- but I have been blessed to have every tick of the clock reward me with romance. We have graduated across roles- from sprightly teens to newlyweds, and young professionals to parents- but we have always remained lovers. Whether we have been so close as to sear each another into our souls or so distant as to yearn for the closeness like ‘twere air, we have always remembered to ride on the crest of magic before it unwound and returned us to the ‘mundane’ in life. As he drops me to work and watches me walk away, I can feel his gaze linger on me, long after the glass doors have attempted, in vain, to shut it out. The love my husband bears in his heart has the power to slice through time, let alone doors, to reach me no matter where I am.
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I walk into the conference room and see you, like I have a thousand times before, stacking files and adjusting the projector like you are a part of this place. In this moment, you are all I see in here- and the rest is just a blurred backdrop. As the lights go off and you walk across the room, your warped shadow on the screen reminds me of images from my sleepless night. My face turns crimson as you walk by, and plant a quick peck on my lips before continuing to walk to your place on the table. As people start streaming in, I take my seat and try not to be lured by your teasing silence. The hours inside the conference room are marked only by the changing numbers on the giant clock on the wall while I remain stuck with memories of our love making from last night. As the meeting draws to a close and I unwittingly sign up to draw up the minutes of the ‘minutes’ I kept no track of in here, I collect my folders and walk out. The office hours are a blur until I meet you in the break. As we steal a kiss away from public gaze, the neon light from the flickering bulb sends a bright glare up from my wedding ring. I pull apart tentatively and think of how such moments in a parallel universe can remain so tainted- yet so pure…how can I be in love with this man I have known but two years as much as I am with my husband who I have loved for twenty-five!
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In my life, I have only ever fallen twice. It would have been ‘neat’ if one followed the other but they came in close together and merged into an indistinguishable whole. It wasn’t like I ‘needed’ one for supplicating what the other lacked- in fact, it was just the exact opposite- and my love for one added to my love for the other- and I couldn’t be happier. There is no reasoning what is between us, like there’s no denying that we are both married- and happily so. Perhaps, we found each other, even as we never went ‘looking’ for anything- and the magic, like in our own distinct love stories, repeated itself. It didn’t break our marriages- and it didn’t pull us apart. And you don’t disregard something like that.
Of course, it is scary. You’d know if you have ever been so happy that you were terrified of just how happy you could be. That kind of happiness scares you- because you think of what would come to be if you lost it. You cannot imagine your existence without it. And yet, there’s something so real, so raw and so intimate about the feeling, you wouldn’t let go even if the fear overwhelms you. We’ve had those moments of doubt. We’ve grappled with the fear of losing this, because it isn’t something people deem ‘right.’ But feelings, they say, are never right or wrong. They are just what they are- and we’ve let our feeling win.
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So what if the world does not understand this feeling? Feelings, I repeat, aren’t right or wrong- they are what they are- pure and perfect things you keep close to your heart. And should my heart ever wish them gone, I would raise no hand in defense. Until then, I shall keep doing what my heart bids me to- love. Completely and without limits.
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