As I climbed into bed last night, I felt the heat from my husband’s body rise from the blankets. Now, before you assume this is porn, let me explain. Gregg had a fever. Not that he isn’t hot in a hot kind of way. He’s just now also hot in an infective sort of way.
I take the blame for this, given that last week I was ready to call in a priest. While he has similar symptoms, he has not shown the same reaction to the illness. I was overly dramatic and self-pitying, while he is strong and refusing of all attention. If being sick magnifies our personality traits, that about sums it up.
But back to bed.
As I climbed in next to him, I felt and kissed his forehead with my lips gently, as to not wake him. I curled in next to him, and touched his leg. And I thought about his leg.
I have only known Gregg as a middle-aged man, but that leg was once a young man’s leg. I wondered what this young man was like. Was he always so quiet? Was he always so intensely private? Was he always so strong? That leg was a runner’s leg in high school. I wished so much that I could have seen him run, maybe even have run with him. I wished I could have been his prom date. Would he have liked me then? That leg was the leg of a boy, a boy I have little knowledge of. Snippets of tales from his family, but less information from the boy himself. Was he introverted by nature, or did some thing, some big or small or biggish small thing, cause him to start to hold things inside? This leg was once the chubby leg of a baby boy, kicking joyfully as his mother held him high. I think I loved him then, even though it was before I existed.
That leg that I touched gently will someday be the leg of an old man. It will have walked next to me and carried our burdens. It will have bounced a grandson. It will remain next to mine in our warm bed for the years we have left.
I realize the answers I seek, and the love from him that I crave, do not lie in his leg. They are in his heart, and that, he keeps closely guarded. So for now, I will take what I can get from this quiet, quiet man. Even if it’s just a leg.