Part 1:

I hug him, my lips on his soft cheek. I kiss him and leave my lips there, breathing in his warmth, my body remembering years of this same embrace.

“I know we’re not in the same place right now.” he says. “And it’s okay. You’re fine the way you are. We’re just in different places and it will be okay.”

The previous night I was in tears. I felt so far away from him and guilty that I wanted what I wanted. Sad that the heat that we had in years past was missing. Hopeful for where we were going but cautiously so. Missing his passion, missing his playfulness that had ebbed away little by little. I understood the reasons for the changes but that hadn’t made it easier.

But in this moment, I knew he also understood me. The new normal was around the bend.

Part 2:

It’s finally the end of the work day. He listens patiently to my chatter–my work drama, my friend’s gossip, my frustrations. Occasionally, he laughs and shakes his head. “My silly wife…” he says. I walk up to him and kiss his cheek. His face scrunches into a grimace as I cover his temple, forehead and neck with kisses. The smell of his skin is comforting. I give him one more kiss, just to torture him.

And in bed that night, laying back to back, he reaches his hand over his side for me. I take his hand and squeeze it. “Good night, kitten,” he says. “I love you.” I respond, “I love you, too.” There will be intimacy in a few days, not now. We’re good. And I’m good.

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