All the things he did, always: The way he looked at me, always. His embraceable hugs that showed me the depth of his love, always. His tender, sensual kisses that rivaled any kiss I had ever experienced, always.
He always told me he loved me more. I always countered that it wasn’t possible, but now, in hindsight, as I truly examine our life together, I believe he might have loved me just a smidgen more. He had endearing names for me. The first one was: Face. Later, inspired by a pair of white with black sunglasses, he called me: Hollywooood, elongating wood. Most endearing was: Normi. (Years later my little cousin, Shayna, upon hearing this and learning why asked if she could call me Aunt Normi, which endeared the moniker even more.)
In the beginning we used to play: “I love you.“ He’d say, “I love you more”; “I love you the mostest.” “I love you the more mostest,” and we’d go on and on, all the time kissing and giggling. We giggled all the time. We gave each other infinite pleasure on every conceivable level.
He adored me in a way I had never been appreciated before. What I said and how I said it intrigued him. He loved my mind; I loved his even more. His intellect and his remarkable grasp of complex issues never ceased to amaze me.
He seemed to know things before anyone else. We used to tease that on his tombstone we’d emblazon the words, “He Knew”, because he did. He understood things in an unexplainable way.
I miss him more with each new day. Sometimes he comes into my dreams and I awake sensing his nearness, but then as I reach over to touch him or look into his beautiful blue eyes and the reality that he’s not there overwhelms me.
I walk around my spectacular home, that he gave me and filled with all my heart’s desires, I’m comforted. I touch his books remembering how he respected the written word. I smile at his shelf of knickknacks: pieces of paper, a baby blue little ceramic donkey from his childhood, dozens of little “things” that had meaning just for him.
I have pictures of his family, even the family from Italy that he never knew.
Now they’re mine and it feels strange. It befuddles the mind all these things each of us have; how meaningful they seem to us while we’re here; how meaningless they seem without him.
I have pictures from his beautiful babyhood to the last days of his life. I just know if we had been toddlers together, we would have fallen in love in the playpen. Just looking into his eyes, even as an infant his soul is evident.
He told me about his first love. Sarah was her name: another Jewish girl. Philip told me his dad was the chef for many summer camps, many of which were primarily Jewish. So, he fell in love with many Jewish girls, more importantly, he developed a keen taste for foods of my heritage.
As the story goes, Sarah became addicted to drugs, and Philip struggled mightily. He lost sleep; he couldn’t eat; he lost so much weight that it was Philip who looked ill. His heart was sick, but he learned a powerful lesson: that he could not make her well, or make her give up her addiction. In the end, he had to walk away.
I have a hilarious if not sacrilegious photo of Philip’s notion of an Easter card. He shimmied himself up a pole, strung his arms across a horizontal piece of wood and hung himself! What he didn’t consider was how he’d release himself forgetting he’d become a dead weight.
I have Philip’s memories and my memories and they’re so intertwined. We were one. I think of the words to the song: Embraceable You. It is as if they were written for us:
My sweet embraceable you.
You irreplaceable you.
Just one look at you — my heart grew tipsy in me;
You and you alone bring out the gipsy in me.
I love all
The many charms about you;
I want my arms about you.
I know, more than anything he left this world wishing me love, wanting me to find a new love to walk the remainder of my years with…
There’s a huge part of me that wants that too for me. Yet, there’s another part of me that can’t imagine loving another after loving so deeply. Is it even fathomable that I could be so lucky again in life? Am I selfish to expect it? Finally, one thing I’m certain of, I need to stop crying at the mention of his name before I can think of sitting across a dinner table from a date.
Oh, my sweet embraceable you…I miss you so.