“Do you know the worst thing you can do to a woman” my wife asked me on our thirtieth wedding anniversary, and I said “No”. She looked at me, as if I were a stranger, some alien who had entered her life through deceit and replied, “Marry a woman, but only from affection, and watch the love she has for you die from starvation and then cease to be”
Truth, plainly spoken, is a heavy burden to endure and I felt hers:this dear sweet girl, who had rested her child-like hopes upon my shoulder and realised with the passing years that my eyes had always been searching the horizon, seeking a sign that my first love, now deceased, might somehow return to me.
Love is a simple word and some have felt its touch, as I have twice. First when it rose within me and moved me to celebrate the presence of a women who would accept my friendship at any level but not with intimacy:whom I had loved with all my heart and felt honoured to know until her sudden early death removed her from my life, and subsequently with my wife, who I met shortly after her my true love’s passing and lacked the courage to admit her feelings for me were not returned to the extent I married her.
There was nothing you could not admire in my wife: her patience with my failings has been humbling in the thirty years we have spent together but now, grey of head, and sharing our childless home, a darkness has grown over her soul as she realised that I, despite my gentle ministrations, kept the heart of me sacred for my first love snatched from me by an accident.
I, who would not knowingly hurt another, and loved gentleness in all that breathed, had damaged a soul charged to me through years of polite neglect and nurturing indifference until, tired of a life offering selfless ministration to a man who did not celebrate her, she had cried out that I had destroyed her life and left her soulless and without hope.
My eyes rose to the window, where I sensed my first love telling me, “Life is always precious, however we may find it, and your wife has nourished you over all these years as I would never have done.”
I turned to look at my wife who I realised I had grown to love but by then it was too late. She shares my home but her heart has left this place !