It turns out the coffee I held in my hand was not really a coffee at all, but a Time Machine. I hadn’t seen him in years. It was Dominique who saw him first – this man staring in our direction, watching me. I was busy touching every book cover, reading every title in this Barnes and Noble. I almost ran into him. I looked up and seeing his face my brain flashed with words of Emily Dickinson, for he had always given me books of poetry. I wanted to say, “In the name of the Bee — And of the Butterfly — and of the Breeze — Amen!” But all I could say, all we both could say was, “Oh, my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! The words squeezed between us as we hugged away all the distance of space and time.
Words tumbled out, almost incoherent, as I tried to introduce him to Dominque. I said something like spiritual leader, guide, friend, I don’t know. Because as Roethke said in his poem, he had no rights in my matter, he was “neither father, nor lover.” But oh, how he mattered to me.
Dominque and I just celebrated our 8th anniversary, but it was here, in this Barnes and Noble, I was walked down the aisle. He told Dominique how very special I was. How lucky he was. Words I would have imagined to hear from a father or brother. Words I never really even let myself dare the hope to hear, but he offered them so freely yesterday. Above the din of all the stories, he said mine aloud. Maybe it’s not even correct anymore for a girl, a woman, to want to hear it, need to hear it, but I can say now, how good it actually felt. He told Dominque to take care of me. He said I love you. And on this day before Valentine’s Day, I felt like I got married again.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Dominique! I love you! I would marry you again and again. I will say all the words above the words and write new ones and arrange them to tell you I love you, now and forever.
And Happy Valentine’s Day to all those along the way who show us that love is possible. That we are possible of giving. Of receiving. Love.