As tough as the last five years had been, there were moments between Dale and I that will always come back to me as unique to that relationship and all the little idiosyncrasies involved.
For example, Dale and I were very co-dependent with one another and it didn't dawn on us to get help. I followed him wherever he went and vise versa, we held onto each other no matter where we were. It wasn't an odd sight to walk into his dojo to see me sitting there, watching him teach. During breaks, he'd come over to stand by me and hold my hand. At parties, if he sat near me, his hand would be on my knee, my ankle, or my foot, depending on what was reachable.
We considered ourselves lucky to have an active sex life. Much of our closeness was derived from that because we shared so much passion, and from time to time the intensity of it all would bring me to tears. He used to tease me a little about it because it's disconcerting for a man if your wife has an orgasm that makes her cry, but what do you do?
Anyway, in December of 2001 Dale had started seeing a new Doctor in hopes of being able to wean himself off the alcohol. We'd received the terminal diagnosis a few months before and I was desperate to have him quit drinking, desperate to save his life. In the months previous to that he'd been dealing with chronic relapses and had been unable to deal with any aspects of normal life, including making love to me. Maybe I was too bitter and angry anyway. To be honest, it's one of those "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" type things. I couldn't have sex with a man that was slowly killing himself, and he couldn't bring himself to initiate sex knowing that I resented him for it.
It was a lonely time.
It was December and Christmas was fast approaching, much like it is now. We were living in the duplex and the master bedroom had this big picture window that looked out onto an alleyway with tall, mature trees. That night Dale and I lay sprawled sideways across the queen sized bed, he with his head on a stack a pillows, and me laying the opposite way, on my side with my head in my hand. Out the window to the right hand side I noticed that the moon was huge. The sky was a beautiful shade of navy blue and the trees swayed from side to side.
We talked about hope and for once in a long while he was actually sober. He thought that he'd be able to quit drinking gradually because the new Doc had prescribed Librium. I don't remember what I was thinking. Somehow, one thing led to another and we were making love, and from time to time I would notice that the moon was no longer on the right side of the window but in the centre.
With each kiss I would think his eyes are so blue when he's loving me and I can't stand to think of what might come.Don't think about it. Don't think about it! Near the end of our lovemaking I felt the tears running down my cheeks and pooling in my neck and near my collarbone. I fought to keep from crying out in despair because somehow I knew. My hands ran over his freckled shoulders and up into his thick dark hair, and instead of searching out his eyes I looked out the window, where the moon had moved across to the left hand side.
"Are you okay?" he whispered.
Feeling the need to lie, I nodded. As he drifted off to sleep I think that we both knew in our hearts that it was the end. I lay there, wide awake, wondering what the hell was going to happen next.
As it turned out, we never made love again, and he died on October 2, 2002.