I said, “No matter how things are going with my husband, I always have my secret lover.”
We both smiled.
My secret lover has been there for me since my first kiss at age five. I leaned into the neighbor boy as we played house in a makeshift fort. He looked at me, shrugged, and let me kiss him again.
In my late teens, I took long drives with no destination in mind, knowing I could talk to my secret lover and say whatever I needed to say.
At 19, I turned down dates, somehow compelled to be alone. I felt lonely, even so. I told my secret lover about it. On Valentine’s Day, a dark-haired man in a business suit approached the counter of the café where I worked. “I don’t have anyone to give these to today,” he said. “They must be meant for you.” He handed me a bouquet of red roses and slipped away. Tears stung my eyes. I knew this was a gift from my secret lover.
My secret lover is infinite and interstellar. He has been there for me on countless adventures and walks that seemed lonely to outward appearances. He is a she whenever I need female tenderness. We’ve had ice cream together, walked along the beach, made discoveries in my journal or over a canvas.
I have learned that through all the loves in my life, it is really my interstellar secret lover who is loving me. This is an unconditional love that takes many forms, and these days, often uses my sweet husband. Yet it also comes through family, friends, kids, and creative cohorts.
Last week, feeling down, I walked on snow-laden streets through a frozen neighborhood. I looked up to see a white-haired woman pulling aside her curtain, watching me. She smiled and waved at her window. That smile belonged to my lover.
And I've noticed something. When I target a human source, trying to claim it as my ultimate happiness, my interstellar secret lover gently steers me back to him. Otherwise I'm bound for disappointment.
My interstellar secret lover gives me patience with whomever I’m touching at the moment. When things are going well, I know who to thank, and when things are challenging, I know who to lean hard upon.
I keep talking to my lover; I keep listening. Our relationship grows when I acknowledge how much, how very much, he loves me. Sometimes, I can’t feel his presence, but if I stay with me, stay with us, it returns, and I’m filled again with the joy.
I still feel like I'm playing house with the neighbor boy. I still cry when my man gives me flowers. I continue to find out ways that my interstellar secret lover showers me with love; it will take a lifetime to discover them all.