Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Husband in Winter

My husband says I love him more in winter. The heat does not stay in our drafty old house, and I scoot closer on the couch. He wears big quilted overshirts, and when I walk into our kitchen on the cold, cold floor each morning, he laughs at me and spreads his arms wide, that roomy, unbuttoned overshirt opening for me to tuck myself inside.

When there is snow on the ground, his warmth feels meant. Despite all scientific facts to the contrary, I feel certain the heat from his body is intentional and directed. It reaches out to me on purpose and stops the shivers. Every year I deny that I love him more in winter, but when the windows frost, I find myself settling into marriage like a quilt. I can't help it. Or I don't want to.

I have been working on a novel for years, the slow, sneaky kind of project that throws sand in my face when I think I've got it pinned. To write it, I have to remember what I thought love was when I was young. I set myself the chore of listening to young music and I try to remember. I recall being lit up by conversation and the certainty I was understood, that piercing feeling of affinity, the belief that I had finally found my kin. I remember the hollow longing that never got filled up. I remember that intensity that makes every roadblock an outrage and an ending of the world. But as I sift through my memories, I am surprised at how bodiless it all is. I remember the longing, but from this distance of decades, it looks pointlessly consumed with my own interior self.

But marriage is carnal. The man in my kitchen stands there, solid even when I'm not paying attention.  There is no moment he is safely framed and contained in my thoughts. In our own demanding story, dammit all if he doesn't shock me with his stubborn plot points. I shuffle into his arms on a cold winter morning and see how memory and future track along his hands, his neck, the grizzle of his beard. He is always past and always present, and I am never merely left inside myself.

Warmth is personal, no matter what the physiology textbooks say. He warmed me by meaning to, and I sometimes hope that winter lasts forever.


  1. I like this so much I'm leaving a comment on the actual BLOG instead of just on FACEBOOK.

  2. How many years? We're at thirteen this spring :)

    Loved it :)

    1. Do you mean years married or years writing a novel? The answers are 17 and 4.

  3. I love it when you resurface on this blog. It's always worth the wait. Thank you. I do the very same thing, snuggling into my husband's coat before he walks to work. And the boys tackle hug me in my fleece-lined hoodie, asking to be wrapped up. Here's to drafty old houses, long winters, and long-awaited springs!