“Are you awake?”
I hear nothing in return but his gentle breathing and weigh the consequences of whispering aloud again.
I understand that he needs his sleep. But at the same time, I sense the lonely weight of being the only one awake with unsaid words that press urgently against my heart. Words that need to be spoken.
A few moments pass and then he utters a soft “uh-huh” as he turns to face my direction—his lovely familiar and sleepy, relaxed face glowing in the moonlight streaming through the window.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Yeah, I guess so.” He replies.
I decide to say what has been on my mind.
“Remember the last time I saw my dad and I thought he was dying because I felt that his soul had left his body but no one believed me? Everyone told me that I was going crazy because there seemed to be nothing wrong with him, but then he took his life ten days later.
Well, I wish with every fiber of my heart that I had told him everything I felt about him while I still had the chance. I regret that I didn’t reveal that I knew something was wrong but my feelings were influenced by other’s reactions so much that I felt too awkward and stupid to mention anything to him.
You know how nothing in life is certain? I do feel that you and I are certain but I can’t bear the thought of ever having to live without you.
Really, this thought troubles me a lot. It has made me anxious since the day we fell in love and now it upsets me more since my father’s death.
It bothers me and keeps me up at night sometimes. I know that there is nothing that I can do to change the fate of our future and so I wake up, try not to worry and attempt to go back to sleep as best that I can.
Lately I have been thinking if I told you about my feelings that it might help me feel better and at least you would know and understand my feelings a little better.
Please don’t worry as I don’t think you are dying. It’s just that since my father died I now have this fear of not telling people how I feel, because you just never know.
Do you know what I mean?
So, I just wanted to tell you how much I love you and appreciate you for all of the big and the little things that make you into the wonderful person that you are.
I love your kind and trusting heart. And the way that you never give up on me (or us) during the rough times. How you are such a kind and loving father to our children.
I love watching you get so absorbed when you work on projects. I treasure the way your hands that can be so gentle but at the same time can also take a fence or a motor apart with expertise and ease.
I love the way the sun shines on your handsome face. And I especially adore the way your eyes crinkle at the corners a little when you smile.
You know how I cherish laugh lines and crow’s feet.
Well, when I met you, it was my hope that you would grow old with these beautiful lines of happiness more so than furrows and creases of worry and angst. And my desire has paid off with the lines of joy that gently crease your handsome face when you smile.
I know there have been many ups and downs but like trees in breezes as well as strong wind gusts, we have swayed and bent but have never broken. I would like to keep it that way for as long as I know and love you, which I hope will be an extremely long time.”
“Are you sleeping?” I ask.
“No, I’m awake” he replies.
“Good, because there is more—Maybe more than I can even think to say right now.
Do you remember when we were first in love and it was too painful to even think of being apart from one another for even one day? I still feel this way.
Remember when I felt that I needed a few days by myself and I booked that room at the bed and breakfast inn for a few nights just blocks from the vineyards and that spectacularly beautiful mission?
I’m not sure if you knew it then but I was so homesick after the second day, I decided to come home a day early. I hope I always feel this way about you.
With the kids, work, life and all of the rest that gets in the way, I don’t take enough time to tell you how much you really mean to me. But I hope you know. I hope you know deep down in your heart everything I feel even if I don’t say it enough or out loud at all.
Because I think I love you more than you may ever know.”
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photos: courtesy of author in Sonoma, CA at The Cottage Inn and Spa