A step at a time

Today after our morning session I decided to take an hour’s walk prior to the afternoon “Open Mike,” where those who had signed up could read their works in progress, poems, rap, or even the grocery list, I suppose. I walked on Park for half an hour, which got me as far as Famous Dave’s. While the lunch bunch slurped down BBQ I turned around and headed back.

Just beyond the bushes in the photo, a young couple sat on a low stone wall sharing a burrito; he’d take a bite, hand it to her, she’d take a bite, hand it to him. They sat next to each other, turned slightly in so their knees touched.

I smiled, mostly to myself since they were wrapped up in each other, and remembered the sweet aura of a new relationship: it didn’t matter where you went or what you did, as long as you were with the person you loved. He or she made the day special, the shared burrito exquisite, the stone bench a private retreat.

My husband Bob and I will be married 20 years at the end of this month. I miss him when I go away for conferences like this one, five days long. It’s an odd kind of missing, though. Not the yearning, longing of a young lover. More like feeling out of sorts, as if I’ve misplaced something and can’t find it. Or I’ve mistakenly put on my reading glasses to read a distant street sign; it’s blurry and I’m still lost. I don’t feel myself again until we’re back together, sharing our mundane but comfortable routine and eating a home cooked meal. We’ve gotten to this place a day at a time.

My roommate in college and I used to joke that the aphorism “familiarity breeds contempt” was an apt descriptor of what happened between us as a result of sharing a 10 by 12 dorm room.

The last twenty years of my marriage has bred companionship and comfort; I can’t wait for the next twenty.