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The Truth About Love

by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Here it is, the truth about love. Some of you know it already. Some of you will read it and scoff. "Ha!" you will say, "what does she know about it? Obviously nothing! She knows nothing about love, real love, true love." I can hear you saying that now. And I have to tell you two things. One thing is that you are wrong. The other thing is that the very thought of your youthful exuberance wears me out and someday you will understand why.

When Michael and I met I was twenty-eight years old and twenty-eight pounds thinner than I am now. Thinner, but infinitely better distributed. When I was in school I worked evenings in a little bar. Every night we would all clean up and count the money, stack the clean glasses, maybe have a burger together and then toward the end of all that the owner would show up to pick up the cash bag. One night, after we had known each other several months, Mike stayed with me to help close.

Finally, everything was neat and squared away and everyone but me and Mike had gone home, but the owner had not come. We weren't worried. We did what any sensible couple would do. We danced. We danced slow dances in that empty dark little bar and kissed and gazed into each other's eyes. We swayed back and forth to the music and fell in love. I guess the owner finally showed up for the money, but I don't remember it. I only remember the twinkle lights and the jukebox and nobody in the whole place, in the whole world but me and Mike, kissing and dancing.

A few years later, Mike and I had been married for a couple of years. We had between us six children, two full time jobs, a house that needed constant attention and not enough time for anything. Mike came into the kitchen and found me washing dishes and droopy as mud. "What's the matter, babe?"

"Nothing I guess. I am just so tired and I feel so fat and frumpy and grumpy and blue!"

"Don't be silly!" he answered, "you look just the same now as you did that night we danced so late at Billy's." It might have been stretching the truth a bit, but it made me feel better and made me remember that we loved each other. I dropped the sponge, dried my hands and we kissed, there in the kitchen.

Michael is often sweet. And I adore him. But things change. He's told me often enough what he thinks about me that he doesn't feel the need to repeat it all the time. And I am secure enough in myself and our relationship that I don't feel the need to ask him all the time. "Do you love me? A lot? More than anybody you ever loved or could ever imagine loving? If I died would you be sad? Do you like my hair like this? Will you love me forever?" No longer necessary in our relationship. And a good thing too. We have settled into a fine, warm, comfortable love. I consider Michael to be my best friend in all the world, my favorite adult. And I think he feels that way too.

Still, we occasionally have flashes of that old romantic feeling, one or the other of us. Both, if the stars are right. Why, just the other evening we found ourselves alone together in the kitchen. Seems to be the place we often find ourselves alone. Because the children figure, correctly, that if they come in they will be given some chore or the other to do.

So, I was standing at the cutting board and he came up close behind me. I turned to him and put my arms around his neck. We kissed. We kissed a beautiful kiss born of our long relationship and the deep and abiding love we have for one another. We kissed the best kiss we have ever kissed and my Michael looked into my eyes, into the very center of my soul, and said, "Baby,"

"Yes," I sighed. "Baby," he murmured into my ear, " you're standing between me and a sandwich." Sigh. True love doesn't die, but it sure can evolve.
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything" >
August 15, 2006 Column
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