I was driving home the other day, the smell of autumn beginning to creep into the air through the vents, and I saw a woman coming at me from the opposite direction. She passed me in her car without looking over, but I saw her and I wondered to myself, is there something in her to love? I kept driving, and all along the way I saw person after person walking on the sidewalks, biking by me, or sitting on the grass. As I drove, I fell a little bit in love with every one of them, wishing for a split second to start a whirlwind romance with each. Has that ever happened to you?
I don’t really want to have an affair of course. That sounds dangerous, messy, stupid, complicated, disloyal, wrong, and overwhelmingly unappealing. I really can’t think of anything I would rather do less than have an affair. But I would like to fall in love. The days when my wife and I were first starting our relationship hold firm in my mind as the days of the most adventure, most wonder, most excitement, most discovery, and sometimes I miss them. Not that we don’t have adventure now, but oh, to fall in love with my wife again! To go back to the days when things were pure and new! What would it be like to kiss my wife for the first time, a second time?
Every woman I see is full of beauty and value, brimming with hidden mysteries worth discovering. It is tempting to want to love them all. But I know that what I really want is to keep the marital magic alive. If it has dimmed at all over the years, I cannot blame it completely on the passage of time and the blossoming of familiarity. No, some of the responsibility is mine. Do I still leave notes and surprises for her the way I did when we were first dating? No, I do not. Do I sneak her out of the house for moonlight walks? Well, that’s hard to do with kids upstairs and when everyone is tired from work. But is that an excuse? How much of the past is truly lost, and how much of it did I just put down somewhere and now can’t remember where it is? If I look around enough places, maybe it will turn up?
Today I am sneaking my wife out of work early and we are driving to New Hampshire for an overnight. It’s only one night, but I can barely contain my boyish glee at the thought of a whole 24 hours away with her. I spent too much money on the hotel room with the hot tub in it, but it’s okay because the concert tickets were free. I won them. If a little dangerous romance is needed, it can be provided. Because while everyone out there is deserving of love, there is only one woman I want to have an affair with, and I married her thirteen years ago. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pack.