What if I had married earlier? And we'd lived in a warm pretty house with a lot of windows that overlooked East Los Angeles? And I'd stayed home and raised the kids and wrote in my journal and baked bread and walked Silverlake Reservoir with another writer and mother? That's a picture I could have created, but I really didn't think it would be possible that someone would want to do that with me and have proven that over and over in various ways.
Now, at 50, meeting Larry changed everything. He sees it all because that is his lens. Maybe I could start to see myself as bigger, more expansive, a whole range of possibility with a wide open shared love future?
For now, I have to go the Korean spa and get a loofah; let the dead skin cells be scrubbed and accumulate on the floor, wash it all away with scalding hot water, soothing rose oil, mugwort and chamomile, so that when he returns from this recent trip, I am the gift.
Remember how horrible the last two love decades were! I want to reach back, soothe my younger broken-hearted self. Have courage! Wipe those tears away! One day, you will be the gift a man hoped for his whole life. And this man, who has also loved and lost, will be in his sixth decade. He will recognize your treasure, immediately.
And when you fall in love, and you will, he will kiss the crinkles around your eyes and mouth, the fine lines on your neck certain to deepen one day like rings in an old tree. He will hold your still mostly firm breasts and delight in watching your buttocks walk away. You will wear each other out, younger self. Trust me. There is still plenty of time for true love to happen. This man, he will adore you. Every day he will say, "You are so beautiful." Even under the florescent lighting of his walk-in closet. The passion in his kisses will turn your aging knees to jelly. Plus, he will bring you cappuccino in bed each morning, even though he hates coffee.
I know, it's seems impossible, too hard to imagine.
This is something that must not be a secret, younger self! You will watch his long-limbed aging body climb into the bath on a rainy afternoon. The curly white hairs of his chest and belly will glisten in the candlelight. And you will slide closer in the warm water and wrap your slender legs around his strong torso. Your heart will cry out to love him forever.
Love is better after 50. There is much good inside of experience; how to not hurt another, how to take responsibility, how to be patient and let some things slide. How to make love with conversation and Scrabble, long walks on the shore, giggling like teenagers over the phone, how to love another by letting him be -- and the knowledge that time is a precious, fleeting thing.
I am walking barefoot along the sandy shore of the Pacific picking up the smooth brown round stones forgotten twenty, 30 years ago. Retrieving the wild-hearted woman pieces of myself from the sea of sorrow and grief and dreams lost and trauma -- everything beautiful that lived in my heart can all now come home -- the excitement the remembered dreams the wonder the depth the expansive blue forever...
Love, the final frontier, had opened wide before me. Because of Larry.