On enduring love. Thirty years ago today, I met my love. I am in my forties. He calls me ‘Cosi’, although only occasionally now. It was a childhood name. Reserved for grandparents and parents and my love. It’s very affectionate. Everyone else calls me Nicole; this is the way I prefer it; I don’t like nicknames.

I don’t have strong memories of meeting him. I met many people that day. I recall he was shy and had beautiful eyes. At some point, I became curious. And so there was the slow revelation of truths over the coming months. There was no internet at that time. Things were different. A stalker hid in a tree in your garden; today, they are at home hunting on their computer for information that will disqualify or promote someone’s worthiness. How different things are today.

As the months passed, I would recall my Grandmother’s words, ‘ Patience is a virtue. Possess it if you can. Found often in a woman and seldom in a man. We lived in a narrative of binary beliefs with a total lack of awareness. Everything was uncomplicated. Slowly we migrated from friendship to love. There was never a moment of doubt for me. I’ve always known what I want—such a burning desire.

First ten years and then twenty. I was engulfed by breathless adoration. Should all loves be so lucky to have twenty years like this? Life was easy, and we knew it. We didn’t sweat the small stuff. We never have. The affection and devotion upon which I regarded my love were intoxicating to those around us. I fielded constant inquiries as to what the secret was. I thought I knew. With unrivalled arrogance, I would tell others the secret is ‘not to let the sun go down on an argument’—the ability to forgive. A lesson I learnt from my love’s Grandmother. She was married for more than fifty years to a man with a similar temperament and the same moniker as my love.

And so we slid confidently into our third decade: my love and our four children. I can hear the children’s laughter; it fills my heart with joy. The days pass with a satisfying exhaustion that comes from giving everything. The bedtime stories. The silence of them sleeping. The time for us. The closed doors, fire, heat, dry skin, and moistness. I remember everything like it was yesterday. Time and space are recorded in little dioramas for my thoughts to browse.

Do you remember my love? In the beginning, we had nothing and everything. Materiality was meaningless. I was a well that could not be emptied. I was young. I don’t want to be patient anymore. I feel a sense of urgency like time is moving too fast. The world has changed. I have changed. There is only one thing I am sure of, the passion I have for you, my love. Tomorrow we begin our fourth decade.

Touch me, and you will know what it is to be loved… Just touch me, my love.

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