You learn much about a woman over fifteen years. You learn even more if you add another four on top, the stretch of time it took me to buckle up my courage and stop acting the fool. When the time was right though, the courage rushed with a fury. I’ve been grabbing straight shots of 80-proof love ever since.
In those fifteen years, you learn that a woman needs you to clean up your pancake disarray as you go along, not after dinner’s done. You learn that when we’re in bed reading and she asks if I’m hungry, what she really means is: would you take your cute little self downstairs and make me some of your stovetop popcorn? You learn that asking her what she thinks of Schleiermacher’s pneumatology or Barth’s “strange world” after 9 p.m. is likely to get you nothing but a big ol’ roll of the eyes.
But you also learn that you’re welcome to quote poetry at any hour. You learn that tears cost her much but have a mighty power to heal those who receive them. You learn that true artists simply make beauty everywhere and half the time don’t even know they’re doing it. You learn that whenever she pulls out that orange-striped apron, watch out. She may start with paint and canvas, but when she’s done, all you’ll be able to say is my, my…
In fifteen years, you learn what it is to give yourself to a woman, to know that she is your truest joy and truest pleasure. You also know, as much as you know a thing in this world, that you’ve only begun to scratch at her mystery, her allure.