Friday, July 29, 2011

on frailty and fidelity

I have the sort of boyfriend who can carry me seated upright on his shoulders. The kind who sweeps me down whole flights of stairs. He is a lifter of heavy things, a manager of impossibly numerous grocery bags.

He is smarter than a whip crack on a winter morning. He looks at the world with his sea glass eyes and assesses it, not merely for style and substance, but moral significance. He believes in the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people for the greatest amount of time, a worldview made manifest by his boundless attention to single mothers' baby strollers and frail old ladies' shopping carts.

He is also fiercely independent. The sort of man who needs to be alone with his thoughts, with his Kindle copy of Proust, with his hills in the Highlands.

I believe he is the sort of man I can trust—with thousands of miles between us or just across a dance floor—but I am merely mortal, and subject to the more vexatious aspects of my sex. I see him beset by girl-fouling floozies, and I have to stop the steam from coming out my ears.

He asks a lot of me, this man. He will be gentle, helpful, overly-solicitous, only insofar as I allow him. And then he cuts the chord. He demands that I be worthy of the respect he gives. He tells me I've no reason to be jealous and expects that I will trust him. He gives me honest feedback and hopes I'll bear it humbly. Now and again, he will morph into an undersensitive creature of the male persuasion, but he is the very first to admit his faults.

When the physical falls apart, and I prove less hardy than my better constitution, he's still there. Back injuries, bladder infections, vicious blisters on the toe... these are just unfortunate matters of nature, he says. And he would gladly weather their momentary effect on whatever fun he's having if it means he still gets to be in a couple with me. His words.

As I sit here typing into my laptop, and he types into his across our desk, rainy Saturday Berlin comes down onto the courtyard maple and our window box of herbs. Life is pitifully short, and love is pitifully painful, but right here in this quiet moment, when we've tidied up the sheets on our mattress on the floor, when we've ducked down to the Lidl for milk and mueslix, and when we've taken silly pictures with the massive celery root I found, every single sacrifice explains itself. I've met the man who lets me be the very best version of myself. The benefits by far outweigh the costs. And I am sure he'd say the same.


Anonymous said...

Trust it.

Erie Lackawanna said...

So happy to hear the essentials are great for you :)