I was sitting on couch in what passes (at least in my case) for deep thought, when Diana broke the silence.
“David, do you love me?”
Years ago, my brain would have instantly screamed “TRAP! RUN!” Not anymore. Diana has no idea she does it, but she touches me in her sleep. Often in the middle of the night she will reach over and grab my arm for a second then let go. Sometimes I feel her hand touching different places on my back, as if she’s trying to make sure it’s my back. Once I woke up to her giving me a “good boy” pat on the cheek. That cracked me up, and I ended up quiet-laughing so hard that the shaking bed woke Diana up.
Of course, when we were first married, I assumed whenever she touched me at night she was awake and looking for some lovin’.
“Honey, what are you doing?”
“You touched me.”
“Well, it must have been an accident. I’m tired. Roll back over.”
Over the years, though, I realized she was just checking in. Just making sure I was still there.
I’m a quiet person. I do quite a bit of thinking, though the quality of my thoughts never matches the quantity. It’s never anything deep or earth-shattering; no schemes to end world hunger or advanced mathematical theorems. No, usually I’m planning how to build a new fence gate after the old one blew down, visualizing a cabinet to make for the downstairs bathroom, or trying to decide which lawn fertilizer I’m going to use this year (think I’m going with Milorganite – it has 4% iron and, according to one of my crusty neighbors, it’s made from human poop just like in medieval Japan). I leave the big thoughts for smarter people.
Still, once I get inside my head, even about something as stupid as poop fertilizer, I sometimes forget to come out for a while. Also, I’m not a big talker. It’s not that I’m cold, or broody, or anything like that; I just usually don’t say much unless I have something to say. So, just like when we are sleeping, Diana will check in on me from time to time just to make sure I’m still there. It doesn’t matter how I answer, only that I answer. Then I can get back to whatever I was doing.
“David, do you love me?”
Why? Because you’re kind to people, even when they’re being jerks to you. Because you’re low-maintenance. Because you’re smarter than me, but still let me feel like the brain in the family. Because you keep yourself up at night worrying about things over which you have no control. Because you plan out every vacation and get-together to the smallest, most anal-retentive detail. Because when you’re sick, you’re the most pitiful thing I’ve ever seen. Because you trust that if I say I can fix something with Mighty Putty, I can fix it with Mighty Putty. Because you let me have my projects, knowing I will never finish half of them. Because you get my jokes. Because you’ve put up with my adolescent behavior for over 30 years….
Because you touch me when you’re sleeping just to make sure I’m still there. Because…
“Because you occasionally make very good banana pudding.”
“That’s why you love me? Banana pudding?”
“I do make good banana pudding.”