That was then…
When I first met the man who would become my husband, we were both very different people. I was a month shy of 27, did not yet have my talisman tattoo, masturbated at least once daily (often as many as five times), had two semi-regular sexual partners, a job I didn’t like much, a libido I could barely satisfy, and a bank account balance that trended in the negative. I was in a place of vulnerability – physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually – that I had never before experienced (and never want to again), and my views on relationships were jaded beyond my years.
This is now…
I have come to believe that we are always the same Self, but that different versions of that Self are constantly emerging. So while, at the core, I am the same person I was back then – built from the same foundations – I am also a completely different person now than I was when we first met. I have knocked out walls and expanded my footprint, renovated, reconfigured my interior, de-cluttered, and added a few windows from which to view the world. My foundation hasn’t changed. But sometimes it seems as though everything else has.
My husband has done some remodeling of his own. He is no more The Same Person he was 13 years ago than I am.
We are not the same.
This isn’t a good thing or a bad thing. Like most things, it is just a thing, and it is one that I choose to examine now and again. Mostly because when something works – when it is still right, after all this time – I think it is important to enjoy that feeling, to let it settle in my chest, to smile at the mental map board and quirk an eyebrow at the big red arrow that says You Are Here. To think for a moment about all the twists and turns that brought me to this place. This here. This now.
“Remember when…” is one of those phrases that sneaks into your vocabulary with such stealth and subtlety that it comes as a great shock when you hear someone else say it and realize with a gulp that Oh my God, I sound like my mother/grandpa/neighbor/elementary school teacher/insert other Old Person here.
But I do remember when.
I remember when I told him I liked him too much to have sex with him. When I did not feel capable of being sexually involved with a person I felt emotionally attached to. When I was still re-piecing the jagged broken edges of my heart and was not willing to allow anyone – especially not him – see the damage that had been done by the one who came before, or to help me stitch the wounds that were still bleeding. When he didn’t push and he didn’t leave and he said “Okay” and “Whatever you want, babe” and “You’re my friend, first and foremost” and “I love you” and it didn’t feel like cement bricks were weighting my feet, drowning me in an ocean of tied down misery.
I remember when he tasted my pussy for the first time, the way he devoured my flesh and lapped at my juices, licking and sucking and making delicious humming noises of pleasure. The way he didn’t rush, but was full of speed and heat and persistent desire. The time he took (and it took a long time), pushing through my tension, creating a safe place to let down my barriers, helping me relax, coaxing me to climax. The look of sheer awe and satisfied appreciation on his face when finally, shaken and unraveled, I came against his ravenous mouth.
I remember the fears he tried to hide. The conversation about his health. His insistence that we wouldn’t be able to keep it up, that sooner or later I would need to move on, that he didn’t want to be in my way when that time came. My own insistence that he marry me despite the odds, and both of our shock at the strength of my feeling on the subject. I was, after all – or had been, until then – that girl. The one who didn’t want to get married. Who saw only misery in the lives of those who were, and wanted to avoid that state of affairs at all costs.
Funny how things change.
I can no longer fathom being sexually involved with anyone I’m not emotionally attached to. When I first met my husband, sex was a release; relationships, while not unimportant, were also not my priority. The opposite is true now. Sharing my body has become intensely personal. The who and the how is more important to me than the what and when.
I remember telling him, when he expressed concern about being able to keep me satisfied Til Death Do Us Part, that as long as his tongue still worked, we’d be fine. It does, but our sex life has not played out how either of us expected it to. Which, like so many things in life, is not a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just a thing.
There was a time we were adventurous.
Not that we aren’t adventurous now; it’s just that we are adventurous in different ways.
“I remember” can be used to accuse. People allow resentment to build in their relationships and they throw down the gauntlet of “We used to” to call out their partner(s). To challenge. To say “This is how it used to be and by virtue of it no longer being that way, everything about Now is bad.”
We don’t do that to each other.
People change. Relationships change.
We have changed.
And for us, remembering is a way of reconnecting. Of reminding ourselves and each other of the time spent, the labor of love employed, the effort we have both given to constantly build anew atop the foundations with which we work.
As I get older, I realize that I remember is a key element, not of aging, but of growing. Of recognizing where I’ve been. Of acknowledging where I am. Of directing my forward footsteps.
I remember the time…
…we had a wordless, intense, zero-foreplay, mostly-clothed, fast, furious fuck against a rock on the bank of a rushing river. My ass was bruised from balancing on the edge of the boulder and his knees were scraped from banging against the granite while banging into me, and we wore our wounds with good-humored pride for a week, each slightly saddened when the evidence of our illicit tryst had faded.
…he took himself in hand, kneeling between my legs while I ran my vibe along my slit, teasing my clit, swirling and vibrating and pulsing and pressing and coaxing my pussy to the edge. Watching his face while he jerked his cock in swift, rough strokes until I could see all the veins along the shaft. His skin, millimeters from mine. Connecting, not through touch, but through sight and sound. Hearing the change in his breath and losing track of my own, enraptured by the overwhelming sensations heightened by intentional sensory deprivation.
…the first time I came home from being with another man, still aroused from our unfinished pre-boarding sexplorations, and finding him, waiting for me, skin still hot from the shower, cock straining with need that had gone unsatisfied in my absence. He fucked me deep and full, his hard stretching my wet, sliding into my slick. He pounded me into the mattress, demanding release for us both, and with my head hanging off the bed and legs draped of his shoulders, I milked his cock with every clench and shudder of my too-long-delayed release until we both collapsed in a pile of sated sex and sweat.
I remember… So many things. The time I made him cum in the closet, with his roommate within hearing range. The time I let him fuck my tits and he accidentally jizzed in my eye.
The time I said “I can’t go on like this.” The time he crawled, shaken and shivering, into my arms after I gave him his first release in months.
The time I said “I do.” The time he asked for something I didn’t think I could give. The time we lost something precious. The time we broke into a thousand pieces. The time we could have given up, walked away, and never looked back. The time we chose to stay.
I remember the time.
It has gone by in a blink.
I am staring at 40, and I have been with my husband for 13 years. I can see clearly the sign that says You Are Here.
And all those twisted paths and rutted roads that brought me – WE – to this place, to this Now from that Then…