For John

Dear Darling, (Because "dear" is what I hear, rather than "little" at the beginning of that old Beatles song),
      I must confess, though surely it will come as no surprise to you, that there are moments, often late at night when I’m watching some movie on Lifetime and feeling all alone in the world, when I wish for more. Or maybe less, it all depends on just how sorry I’m feeling for myself at the time. There are moments like the one when Keanu, or whoever the doe-eyed leading man happens to be, leans in for the first slow motion kiss. Moments like that take my breath away and stir up feelings of wistfulness, first in my tummy, then on my own dry lips. And in those moments I wonder what it might be like to fall in love, again. For the first time, as it were. Is there perhaps, I think to myself, some soul-mate out there I might‘ve missed out on because of the gold ring I wear on my left fourth finger? The lie that only new love is fresh love presses through the cracked open door of my mind, and if I don’t watch out, that powerful killer can steal away to my heart, rending it vein from pulsing ventricle.
      I know the way to stop it in its tracks, but I do not always choose to, and for that I am sorry.
      However, the times I do see the farce for what he is, the times I forbid him passage to the softness below my collarbone, those are the times I watch the wistful moments flee, dear darling. For soon you return to the bedroom from your nightly web-surf and look at me the way you do every night when bedtime is upon us. Or I myself walk down the hall, past the picture of you holding me aloft in that fluorescent hallway where first we fell head over heel -- and I remember. How good and true was, is, the story we live together. And I find myself asking as well as answering, if it’s not complete sacrilege to borrow and reinterpret words from old St. Peter: Darling, to whom would I go? You have the words of my life. I believe and know that you are the one God chose for me.
      John, the all the logos you have shared with me through the years are too numerous to count . . . words scribbled on cases for mix tapes; words passed on notes in British Lit; words written in fingertip, across open palms; words, obviously, whispered in darkness, stolen in secret, launched in anger, and pronounced in truth. There were words shared in books and poems and songs, but it’s the words that hovered, floating above our laughter, those words became flesh and still dwell among us, everyday in the bodies of our children. All these words we carry around in the treasure chest of our hearts, they tell the story of us. And some words we may never let out, while some escape only through hushed sleeping sighs to fill up non-listening ears. Yet they are not robbed of their power, for our words have life and this life can be a light. Not because of you, not because of me and not because of our perfect faithfulness to each other. Rather it is because of the Light our words bear witness to, a Love which shines in the darkness of our mistakes and shortcomings.
      Thank you for loving me this way, full of grace and truth, reflecting the glory of the One and Only. Thanks for forgiving me of those moments, as if they cost you nothing at all. But mostly, thank you for your words of kindness, love and encouragement, and all our years together. I celebrate you today and all the new words of the year to come. I love you more than those words can say. Happy Birthday!