Tom – part two

tom-love-letter3So Tom and I became, as the parlance goes, lovers. I knew I shouldn’t, I knew there would be repercussions, but, as I said before, I had absolutely no idea how much or for how long. Of course, no one ever really thinks that a choice made of desire will have such ruinous consequences even though we’ve all heard the horror stories of others; or, at least, we are blindly optimistic that we will figure it out; that we will have a happy ending.

And, truth be told, in the beginning I gave very little thought to any future beyond the next time we would see each other. We were crazily in love, almost outrageously so. In many ways, the first few months Tom and I were together were some of the most romantic times of my life. It was the early 90s, so everyone had beepers and landlines, which I am glad for; Tom wrote me gloriously purple love letters on real paper with real ink. Perhaps our affair would have been shorter had our passion been confined to (or defined by, as my relationship with DK eventually seemed to be) texts and emails. He mailed me letters with the postage stamp placed upside down, which he told me meant the sender loved the addressee.  I once placed a lock of my hair with protestations of love inside of a scented, handmade envelope and left it for him under a park bench. He came for me on a winter’s night armed with a flask of hot chocolate and lap blanket and drove us around town to see the best holiday light displays. We gripped each other’s hands as we watched Schindler’s List at North Park Theatre, sharing with the entire audience a tidal wave of such emotion at the film’s conclusion that we were all struck dumb as we exited the lobby.

Tom was as sweet and silly as he was passionate, and he was thoughtful of me in ways I had never known. The intensity that radiated between DK and I was unlike any I have ever known, our minds meshed and our bodies felt as if they were handcrafted for each other; but Tom was the most unselfish, giving, caring lover I have ever had, before or since.

It wasn’t until I was in my early thirties that I became aware of just how fiercely protected I kept a small, but essential, kernel of myself. I was never conscious of it with Andy. He and I trusted each other utterly; I didn’t know there was a part of me that I kept even from him.

Tom uncovered it. He didn’t force it from me, he didn’t even ask me to share it, he was just there, never demanding more, always so happy for any and all he got from me. I loved him all the more for that. And then one day, the very last shred of that internal husk simply fell away; disintegrated by Tom’s love. It was the first time I had ever made myself absolutely, completely open to another human being. I was as vulnerable as a snail without its shell but I was also exquisitely free. A symphony rose inside of me.

Which made what came next all the more devastating. 

related posts:

For the playlist: Gorecki’s Third Symphony performed by the London Symphony, one of my very favorite classical works, and  was the soundtrack for my own exquisite flight. 

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