It’s a day full of flowers here in Southern California. Evening is slipping down from a gentle sky, the light slow and soft, and I am traveling along the deep memory road.
I have been looking through our Valentines, Darling. I find that I have about thirty of them, going all the way back to the first year.
They draw me down the shadowed path to those days, recalling your bright voice in the eternity of youth and the magic that you spoke, and the deeper magic you said with your eyes. We were so happy, two little outsiders who had done the impossible: we had found someone who wanted us.
You came into my miserable little flat in a dreary corner of New York, looked around and said, “it has possibilities.” Not only the apartment, but us. We had possibilities.
The ability to seek back across nearly half a century of love is a blessing so great that I can hardly imagine it to be mine. Often, still, my hand reaches out to you in the night, searching the empty sheets. My mind knows the truth, my heart feels it, but my body is not convinced.
Within me, I can hear you speaking and not a week passes that some other sign doesn’t appear, improbably but firmly suggesting that you are still somewhere, and you remain open to me, and know me.
My heart knows and my mind. My body, though, can only believe in one thing, and that is touch. A body can kiss but not remember a kiss. It can feel naked skin but it cannot remember naked skin. My heart encompasses memories of both the first kiss and the last, the one dancing and trembling, the other a bright sweet touch in an ocean of tears. But my body waits, seeking that next kiss, and will wait until it, also, is granted the blessing that has enfolded you.
Each night, I pray that I may join you. Nothing is in my mind for long but that. And yet, my health is that of a man of thirty. How long must I continue struggling in this passage of stones?
The light now has almost left the sky. Far above, late birds circle. The voice of a child rises singing, and then is gone. Will you visit me tonight, Valentine, my night-blooming flower?
The twin mysteries of love and marriage enclose me in their ghostly, insistent arms. I am a husband in a silent room. Goodnight, Valentine.
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