When I think of my Philip he’s standing tall and perfect. He has a special lilt in his walk, something resembling a skip. He’s full of vim and vigor and always with a radiant smile. His hands swing freely by his side, and are never quieted in his pockets.
As was his norm, even when limited by his wheelchair, he is never still or idle. There is always too much to see and too much to do. His mind is as active and inquisitive as ever. His thirst for learning is never quenched.
He looks thinner. I’m sure it’s because minus his paralysis his stomach muscles are in tiptop shape. He was always remarkably strong, but now he looks more muscular, and for some reason he looks younger, perhaps it’s because of the freedom of his body’s heretofore limitations.
In my mind I can hear him whistling or singing. Philip was never far from music. He sang all the time, and if he wasn’t singing he was whistling. He’s wearing well-worn jeans, and I know he loves that. For 34-years he was confined to wearing wheelchair-comfortable pants.
He hated the limitations sitting forced upon him especially regarding his choices in wardrobe. He always wanted to wear a double-breasted blazer…I bet he has closetful now…that’s if there are closets in heaven.
I can’t see what his shoes are, but one thing I’m certain is that they are no longer the big, bulky boots he had no choice in wearing. More likely he’s either barefoot and fancy free or he’s wearing the lightest weight sneaker he could find.
I know he rarely sleeps except on those nights he comes to me. But even then he spends his time talking to me.
Tonight, when I couldn’t sleep, turning the TV channels I came across “Sleepless in Seattle”. I always loved this charming movie, but I guess I had forgotten that Sam, Mr. Sleepless, was a widow for a year and a half. Listening to his dialogue to the radio shrink it touched home in ways it couldn’t have before.
However, when the radio shrink asked him why he wasn’t dating again, I found the question startling. After all, it had been just a year and half since his love passed away. From my perspective he was still mourning and I thought the question insensitive.
I know, it’s just a movie…and where would the story go if he didn’t put himself back into the world of dating? For me, emerging on two-years since I lost my love, I find myself vacillating about what I want. There are more times that I think I’m enjoying my aloneness. Not to be mistaken with feeling “alone”, because there is a vast difference.
For the first time in my adult life, I’m living alone. I can cook if I want, eat if I want, do nothing if I chose, or do whatever I chose. Not that my life with Philip gave me limitations, because Philip would never have done that; but when you’re in a relationship there’s an unspoken commitment of responsibility to one another.
Never for one moment did I ever begrudge that “commitment”. In fact, I cherished it. But now that I have no one with whom to answer to I must say I find it liberating in many ways. So, I find myself vacillating about whether I really want someone in my life again, but when I think the answer is a reaffirming yes, then I know too what I want.
Mostly, I’d like someone in my life that inspires me, uplifts me, smiles in my direction, and gives me a sense of feeling womanly again. I don’t know if I want someone by my side all the time or part of the time or only when I want him there. But I do think it would be nice to have someone who cares about me in a way my friends cannot.
It’s interesting how as time moves on how emotions and events and “things” change. I could easily live another thirty years. Do I want to be alone? I think probably not. That’s a very long time not to have someone special fulfilling what one’s heart yearns for…what all of us need.
Gosh, I’m just now beginning to sometimes cook just for me. Cooking, something I’m very good at and have always gotten pleasure from doing has become and uneventful occurrence. I cook now mostly out of necessity, certainly not because I want to or I’m finding it enjoyable. Most likely because it’s not meant to be a solitary event.
I remember as if it were yesterday our first meals together. What I remember the most is that we never finished very much of anything. Our hunger was much more carnal in those early days of us. We’d stare across the table at one another and our meal was no longer satisfying. It was a delicious time!
Everything was filling in those days. Our thirst for learning about one another was not easily quenched. We talked endlessly about every thing. We learned about each other’s hearts, our deepest yearnings, our heartaches, our dreams, and together we forged a path to our future.
We were hungry in every sense of the word. We were young, vibrant, enthusiastic, creative, and we had boundless energy. There was no limitation on our view of our direction. We had little in the way of money, but we also had no vision of not succeeding. We were invincible together.
Now, thirty plus years later, life is much different. What once was acceptable in a partner is no longer the same. Nowadays, he would have to come into my life as a man with success under his belt. I am way past the time in life for struggling and finding our way. I want to be able to start a new adventure that includes enjoying life and all that it has to offer.
I want to travel and see the world. I want to be with an intellectual equal or superior. He would have to be passionate about life and our fellow humans. Generosity of spirit and heart, and a willingness to share with others is of paramount importance.
Luxury is not important, but comfort and peace of mind is. Passion is vital. I find myself smiling inwardly because those of you who knew my Philip will say that I’m describing Philip. In many ways that’s true. Mostly true is that he spoiled me perhaps in ways no other man can come near. But Philip’s dying wish was that I find love again…and so I think I’m opening myself up to the possibility.
Philip hasn’t visited me in a few nights. I pray he returns soon. However, the pathway down my drive grows wider as if someone is dancing down the drive and departing the leaves in his wake.