If you're not into sex, walk on by and I'll see you next week. But otherwise come on in.
[This post is not explicit, but is rated R for unabashed desire.]
Dan and I've been together thirty-four years. We had eleven years before our first child arrived. Then came baby number two and a decision to buy a house with my mom in order to afford Silicon Valley public schools for the kids. With five people sleeping upstairs in a house with thin walls, it was like a game of Tetris to find a time to be alone.
Ordinarily we were strict about how much television our kids could watch. But on Sunday mornings we set them up with headphones in front of the TV downstairs for what we called "big telly morning” when they could watch show after show after show. One morning, when we tiptoed back downstairs and tried to nonchalantly reappear to the family, mom turns to us from her perch at the kitchen counter and says, What were you doing, rearranging furniture?
We don't want that to ever happen again.
So we stuff our intimacy back into the closet. Search for stolen moments. And when we find them we muffle the sounds our bodies and furniture would otherwise like to make. We seek out hotel rooms. We go feral in deserted parks. Even the woods will do. But what we really ache for is our own bed which is now such an unrequited longing that Dan photographs our tousled sheets and presents me with a framed copy for an anniversary present.
In 2013 we muster the resources to build mom an attached cottage. Now all we have to do is wait for the kids to go to sleep.
And they do. And they grow. And high school graduations come and go. We feel the bittersweetness of losing our kids to the very world we hope to God we’ve prepared them well for.
It's the fall of 2019. Our oldest is living and working hundreds of miles from home. Our youngest is headed to college on the other side of the country. We move her in. Parents all around us speak of their empty nest as if in mourning. But Dan and I dart eyes at each other and make a beeline for the airport.
This nest ain't empty – there are love birds in it!
The day after we arrive home, I buy five dozen roses in shades of plum, nectarine, and apricot. I gently pluck every petal from each stem and strew a thousand soft, fragrant invitations from our front door up the carpeted stairs, round the bend on the landing, down the hallway to the room on the right at the end, and up onto our bed.
We’d never lacked for motive. But now we have the means. Any time of day works. No one else's needs matter but our own.
We are like teenagers, if not rabbits.
Seven months later, the virus hits. The kids come home – one for six months, the other for going on two years now.
We didn’t see the end coming, of course.
But I did keep the petals.
Something told me I just might need a reminder.
I told you mine. Wanna tell me yours? How has the pandemic changed your sex life? Have you had any insights? Have you changed anything up?
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🥀 The petals are old, wrinkled, and beautiful. We keep them in a bowl which you cup with your palm and hold with your thumb. The bowl sits on a credenza in the living room, in sight of the kitchen counter and the TV of big telly morning. This is how we name and claim that intimacy matters.
📸 Cover Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jena Ardell/Moment
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