I was making out with my wife the other day in the kitchen when something caught my eye (sometimes I kiss with my eyes open; I’m a visual person).

I turned around and there was a small child sitting on a stool, her chin perched on her hands, her elbows propped on the island.

“Who let this kid in here?” I was incredulous. A small child? Making itself at home, in our home? A very nonchalant witness to the intimate moments with my wife that I dream about and daydream about and fantasize over and every now and then actually indulge in snippets of with her? Without so much as an, “excuse me, am I interrupting? I could come back.”?

Was our door left open? Did this little creature wander in here from the neighborhood? Does it belong in someone else’s house, at another kitchen counter, eating someone else’s Cheerios?

Oh, right. It’s our child. The one who looks like me. Right, the only one we have. Yeah, I remember, a cold afternoon in Vermont, one of those moments, a couple months later the little blue lines, big breasts, the hospital, diapers, a two-year embargo on those moments. All worth it, of course, to have this little person to share and love and to be amazed by. And surprised by. Startled by, sometimes.

I’m sure it’s just a phase, my being lost in the moment, forgetting that I’ve fathered a child who lives 20 feet down the hallway.

It’s one a hell of a phase. This has been my 1969, my own personal summer of love, a campaign to remind Trish of that double bed in my two-room apartment in the spring of 2001. Of that first night in her den, and the shower, with the champagne. Late teens, early twenties? Forget ’em. I’m peaking at 39.

It hasn’t been an easy march. Life is busy. Worries abound — making money, finding sitters, planning for retirement (it’s never too early). I have NOT begged. Not really. A couple of times I’ve been plaintive. But I’m focused. And considerate. And empathetic to all the “distractions” like clean laundry and bills and preparing meals. And the kid.

Trish is my list. When I divorced in 99 I made a list of the qualities I was looking for in a mate. Trish had them all, including something I wanted but didn’t truly expect to find: passion. I want to be with Trish. That’s all there is to it. Regardless of differences or difficulties, I have a passion for her that’s more than physical. It’s intimacy. It’s a connection that survives doubt. It was, and continues to be, the paramount admiration and respect that says, “this woman would be a great mother, and with her I could be a great father.”

So regardless of how difficult it is to make a physical connection, or when it’s impossible for however many hours or days … or weeks …  there’s always passion. And I know that I either contribute to widening the gulf or I help fill it in, and I’m committed to always being close to Trish.

It’s like I told her tonight, as I held her close in our darkened room, savoring our moment together, “I’m not perfect, and I can be an ass, and I apologize and I keep trying to improve. Because I always want to get some more of that.”

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