I have ideas. Dozens. Tail ends and beginnings. I would like to lie and tell you I don't know why I am scared. I would like to lie and tell you I am fearless.
Sometimes when I reach for her waist, rest my palm on the small of her back, trace the structure of her wrist with my thumb, or sweep a silver strand of hair behind her ear all is certain and assured. These are the times during which I have no reservation.
Look, I probably won't have the guts to publish this telling, but I want to tell it. It's not as though the current pattern of events is one of ease. I am wrapped up in ambiguous loss over a man who lives in an assisted living center four blocks from my house. Every visit is heartbreaking; a kind of sadness I don't think words will adequately convey. I love my husband. I've never stopped, and likely never will. I've been told that, had the stroke not occurred, we'd have tired of each other by now, might squabble regularly, or find ourselves pressed with the daily decision to make the marriage work. I've also been told to cast guilt aside. He asked me yesterday if I'd managed to recover myself yet. I took myself by surprise, answered no so quickly that even in my haste I believe myself. My self before is as irredeemable, irrecoverable as his before self. I think this is the source of my fear; being compared with someone I once was, who is gone.
I've taken to task the chore of explaining this fact repeatedly. The words are always defensive, protective of the newborn person struggling for breath.