Today is Better Half’s birthday. This is the first birthday that we have spent apart from each other.
I met Better Half at a birthday party years ago. It was a cold March and he had slipped on a tropical ensemble: shorts, an obnoxious whale shirt, and earth muffin sandals with short socks. He would have looked peculiar standing next to the average person. He was a hothouse tropical flower awash in a sea of bleakness: we were dressed in our customary leathers, or our horribly gothic gear, or suit jackets with thin ties, or Jamaican duds. We were an eclectic mixture of people and we simply did not have anyone to fill the Cheeseburger in Paradise opening. I don’t think we even wanted anyone to fill it. Better Half carved his own niche and we found ourselves welcoming him.
Better Half is conflict in motion. He was in the military (UDT in the Navy and Airborne in the Army); he has seen combat and has probably taken down his share of the enemy yet his nature is gentle. He watches Animal Planet and cries when the ASPCA picks up a starving dog. He once lamented the loss of his mountain bike, Mr. Twain, which (if I recall correctly) was painted fuchsia and purple. He was a marine biologist washed ashore in the high desert plains of Colorado. He was a morning person.
“Morning people”. Those are people who wake up happy without the need of coffee. Better Half would bolt out of bed as if he’d just down ten boxes of Frosted Chocolate-Coated Sugar Blasties. Add three pots of coffee on top of the cereal and you can get a picture of what living with Better Half was like back then.
It’s amazing that I didn’t smother his enthusiasm… with a pillow.
Better Half has matured over the years. His exuberant soul still behaves as if it was sixteen (or six) but his body counterbalances that (as if he were sixty.) His smile still warms my heart and his perfectly blue eyes remind me of the ocean. His hair (what is left of it) is a handsome shade of silver.
Fifteen years later it is the anniversary of when we first met, and we’re apart, but only physically. He is still that sweet, spastic knucklehead that I fell in love with. He’s a perfect counterpart to my own cynical and muted bearing.
Happy Birthday, lover. I’m sorry that I can’t be there with you. I think of you hourly (seriously, I do!) and I hope that I’ll return to you soon.
I have to throw in an "old man" picture!