Today's illustration is intimate and, therefore, could be gross and uncomfortable to the reader. Skip ahead to the offering at the end if you want to bypass this story.
I will spare you the graphic details and I won't get into the oddities, demands, prerequisites, fetishes, or any other complicated components of our sex life. We were both virgins when we were married. I hear this is a rare thing, and most people don't believe me when I tell them. I was fine with that. In fact, I was great with that. I thought she was great with that.
I would say that, quite often, the act sex was just that - an act. It wasn't necessarily a union. I speculate that it is generally the male who is in search of a release and, because of this seeming need, will ignore the needs and wants of the female. I didn't try hard enough to tend to hers. As usual, I'm painting myself as the bad guy. It wasn't that way. I absolutely did make efforts with her needs but I digress.
When it was special and good, and we were both in the moment as one, and both satisfied, and two had become one, and we lay in a tangled mess of holy flesh trying to find our way back from la petite mort, this is what would happen to me: I would lie with my beloved in my arms - my head against her chest, hearing her heartbeat. I would say to her, "Please tell me that you'll never leave me..." At that moment, I was always overwhelmed with a great fear that she would do just that. She would always sigh and sometimes say my name with an exclamation as to indicate that my request was outlandish. But in that exclamation there was hesitation. Sometimes she would humor me after a couple of requests and say it. When she had fulfilled that request, I would rest easy and drift away in her softness.
I had no reason to think that she would leave me simply because we had both made a for better or worse promise to each other. Even though it wasn't the ideal marriage, it was our marriage and we were gonna stick it out - hoping to eventually create a bright future where we could happily grow old together. She had other thoughts and other plans that I certainly wish we would have discussed and resolved a decade ago.
I have already described the cycle of emotions I experienced (and continue to experience) after she was gone. I was first angry and frustrated and had an "I'll show you" attitude. After that, I was like a rabid raccoon backed in a corner. Then came the dog paddling in the middle of the ocean with no hope in sight. After about 3 months of this, I started to reflect on what a selfish person I was and wanted to fix it. She did not. I think she might have had a few moments of hesitation where she thought that perhaps it would be best to fix it, but she held fast. (I remember one night that could have been an opportunity for me to mend the situation but that'll take me down another rabbit hole. I'll save it for tomorrow.)
I first heard Nina Simone sing. Ne Me Quitte Pas and it moved me like no heartbreak song ever had. There are several versions out there including an English version (that isn't a literal translation) by Rod McKuen. My favorite version is by the author of the song: Jacques Brel. Oh, he must have experienced the same heartbreak I did for no one could describe those desperate feelings with such passion and wisdom unless they had traveled down that road.
I've previously mentioned that my former wife often cited me for being dramatic. I am. As an artist, I constantly look for ways to express myself. Soon after my exposure to this song, I hired a tutor to help me memorize and correctly pronounce the words so that I could perform the song in a public setting. But, even I realized that this was a bit too much - actually laughable. I freely accept accusations, but let me not be accused of butchering this amazing song.
The lyrics and translation are included on today's offering. How I wish I were the shadow of her shadow...how I wish she would hear my cry, "Don't leave me."