You went to talking to me
I was trying to handle a little business
I wasn’t really listening but I heard you speaking
You seemed to be excited about something
I really wanted to be in the moment with you
But my interests were split
We were almost at home
I hadn’t looked at you once during our trip
The phone and computer had me transfixed
I did notice you were happy
So I could take this time to do my marketing
To write. To call. To post. To edit.
To do everything except tend to you.
Once we got settled in, I went right back to work.
Then awhile later I heard you talking
What were you talking about?
Who were you talking to?
Now I was listening.
Now I could hear you well.
You laughed and told someone about your day
I didn’t know you had closed a client.
I didn’t know it had taken you months to do so.
I had no idea what it all meant to you.
How had I missed all of this new info you’re telling someone else right now?
I walked into the dining room
You were parked at the table laughing and chatting.
I was excited for you. I wanted to celebrate.
Finally you hung up. I still don’t know why I asked.
“Who was that, baby? And why am I just hearing all of this?”
You looked confused. Then hurt. Then accepting.
“That was Tina. I told you all this in the car after…”
You were still talking but I was stuck on Tina.
She was celebrating your good news a lot lately.
She was around all the time, always smiling. Always looking fresh and ready, always tuned in to your needs, always calling at the wrong time. Now she was celebrating with you again. And where was I?
That night, I simply asked the question because I had to.
“How do you feel about Tina?”
You laid there quiet so long that I became unsure of if I had spoken to you. But I had asked.
You had heard me.
“Tina is just a good friend. She is always there for me. She’s helping me build my dream and I trust her. You know, I love her, I guess. Not like you, baby. But you know…”
I laid there quietly pondering what you were saying.
“Why do you always go to her first when good things happen to you?”
Again, there was a long silence.
This silence held something. It was about to give birth.
“Actually, I come to you first. But you are always working. You are either writing a book, reading someone else’s book, marketing books, researching grants, teaching a class or otherwise occupied with your coaching. I know how important it is for you to do what you do so I don’t take it personal that you stopped listening to me a long time ago.”
I could not deny that I had tuned you out
But my heart argued that I loved you and I was there.
What does there mean, though, if you aren’t really there?
What was I doing but the same thing I had done before?
This path is leading to loss.
I sat up in the bed and turned toward you.
Your eyes were as beautiful as they had been on the day I first loved you. Your energy was as warm and welcoming as it ever was. Nothing had really changed and I wasn’t going to let it change.
“I’m sorry that I’ve left room for others to do what you want me to do. I’m sorry if you ever felt that my work was more important than you. I’m sorry that I stopped actively listening. I’m sorry for every night I made you come to bed alone and wake up alone, for every meal you wanted but I didn’t make time to prepare for you. I’m sorry for every night you longed to make love to me but I chose to stay up and work, or was too tired to oblige you. I make no excuses. I love you now even more than I once did. Not one quiet moment was my heart contemplating about you because you are the one thing I’m sure of. I want to be what you need me to be. And when I am missing some cues, call me out on it so that I can fix it. I’m not willing to lose you, not your attention, not your energy, not your love.”
We fixed it that night. We fix it every night. Because love needs maintenance and care. It cannot be put on autopilot.