She has just told me her friend has divorced after 42 years, and I say, “She was married longer than anything else. Longer than she had a job, longer than she raised kids, longer than anything except just being alive.”
My friend’s eyes fill; her husband died this summer. “That’s what’s so hard for me,” she says. “I feel like I’m out of orbit.”
It is the dailiness. It is the dailiness of breakfast and laundry. Of conversations about grocery shopping and school projects. Those things we think of as habits but are actually relationships. Like falling asleep on her chest. Or the way she fixes food to my palate. To be known and move around one another in an established order. To orbit.
Today I have been with Mary for 33 months. And she will be away for the weekend, and even that will feel like loss. A handful of days. I am as aware of her as my breathing, which is to say, my focus changes my body. I breathe her out. I breathe her in. What is love but an orbit? A constant revolution.