I want to capture this awareness, but putting it to words might destroy it. It might not. Schroedinger's cat could possibly survive being dead.
There's really only ever been one other woman for me. Teresa. Smart, wise, funny, sweet, adventurous, playful... she taught me things about being in relationship that I still carry, that still inform my choices, still help me be compassionate. We only dated a short while; I was too high maintenance, she was quite happy to never settle down.
I haven't seen her in at least 20 years.
We've emailed back and forth, talked on the phone a little, kept up on our families. I felt a little twinge when she told me she finally did find the one for her. Not jealousy, precisely... something I don't know that English has a word for.
Her husband, Matt, sent me an invitation to Teresa's birthday party, which was really a party for their little girl. She's four, and as well spoken and wonderful a child as you could ever meet, and Matt is a great dad and husband. They're all very cute together. Teresa greeted me with "You like exactly the same!" which I highly doubt, and I told her she looks great, which she does.
Anyway, that's all the background, for this:
At the end of the afternoon, she hugged me goodbye, and in that moment, bodies pressed close, I felt a resonance, a spaciousness more tangible than an echo, and flashing through me passed a life not lived, a sort of "life passing before my eyes" experience. I felt ...kinesthetic memories?... of us, together, through years and places and choices and people.
It was a good life. Not a brilliant life, but certainly one filled with harmony and strength, joy and discovery.
The moment left me feeling satiated. No flame kindled, no passion blossomed. Just a moment, in which the might have beens played out and ran their course. A quantum fluctuation, in which I perhaps recalled the life of a Bob dwelling in a parallel universe.
I'm sitting here adding words to all this, and realizing that Teresa has once more showed me something about being in relationship. My love for her doesn't interefere with my love for Xena; Xena chose me, Xena explores life with me. But Teresa's involvement in my life has made, and now continues to make, me a better man for my wife.