On my way out of yoga, while I was putting my shoes back on, a man who had been in the class with me came over.
“Hi, my name’s Steve,” he said, reaching out for a handshake.
Introducing oneself with a formal handshake, following a yoga class, felt a bit too—personal—to me. I wondered what he actually wanted.
“Are you a regular at Yin yoga?” he asked.
I chatted him up a bit—just to be friendly, and to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he didn’t realize he sounded like he was giving me a bar pick up line? Maybe he really did want to know about Yin yoga. Maybe…
In the car on my way home, I realized just how much of my life I had spent hoping that the Steves of the world would walk up to me, put their hands out and ask me to marry them.
I also realized that there was something vastly different about my encounter with Steve than what I had been hoping for all those years.
There was no way for Steve to have an impact on me. There was no way for him to find a way into my life. I felt keenly that I not only wasn’t available, I wasn’t interested.
I had a wall around me.
“What’s the wall made of?” my husband asked when I shared the “Steve encounter” with him at dinner that night.
“It’s made of love,” I said, without thinking. “It’s a wall that surrounds me with your love.”
Quiet tears came to my eyes. Not tears of sadness, but of relief, of joy—and of feeling safe in the love of another person for the first time in my life.
So safe, and so content, and so pleased that no one else could get through that magic wall made of love.
I’ve never had this “surrounded by love” feeling before. Nothing against the way I was brought up, and nothing against any of the previous men in my life. Some showed their love by bringing home the bacon, some by respecting my mind, some by tenderness and physical touch, and then came along the final one—the one who showed his love in all these ways and more.
Maybe it’s because he and I are in what is referred to as the “autumn of our years” that he is so attentive. Maybe it’s because of how Natalie Goldberg describes autumn…
“Autumn calls us to a still and silent place, and beckons us to sit back and observe a little deeper.” ~ Natalie Goldberg
In any case, Steve—being about the same age as me—was maybe trying to find a wall of love of his own.
After dinner, my husband gestured for me to sit on the futon next to him in the music room.
It was the first night there was a real chill in the air.
Autumn was coming.
“I want to play something for you,” he said, throwing an afghan over the two of us.
What is it about the man you love singing along to a song in your ear? What is it about the soft notes of his voice sounding so tender that it causes you to feel it from the tip of your head to the tips of your toes? (And I do mean to the tips of your toes!)
“The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold…”
Is it the spontaneity? The sonorous, baritone quality of his voice?
“…..but I’ll miss you most of all, my darling,
When autumn leaves, start to fall.”
Hell, I don’t know. It’s just plain sexy.
I read recently that every autumn leaf that falls is like a kiss.
That’s what every note my husband sang in my ear felt like.
A kiss that built a wall—one that came in the autumn of my life.
Author: Carmelene Siani
Image: Author’s own; Instagram @iqbal_ahdalino
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina