Truth be known, I think I was in love with Jay Jones from the moment I met him. But I did not recognize it then.
I was not sure how he felt. I knew we started “accidentally” running into each other a lot. I knew he called me and we talked on the phone for hours.
I knew when I was scrapping for a place to live, he offered to let me stay at his apartment when he was gone.
His mother told me many years later that from the first time he said my name to them, they never heard him say the name of another girl.
But I hesitated. I was guarded … determined not to give my heart away without much vetting beforehand.
We skirted any commitments. I dated other people. I tried not to think of Jay being with other people. But the plain fact of the matter was he was the only one I did not want to leave at the end of the evening.
One night I went to dinner with a coworker. It was nice, but no big fireworks. When we returned to my apartment, we said goodbye at the door. Much to my surprise, he kissed me.
I hastily repeated my good nights and closed the door firmly. Later when I went for a walk, I saw Jay. He lived at the other end of the street.
He skipped the pleasantries of the evening and got right to the point. He said, “I don’t know why you needed to go anywhere with him. You know I love you.”
It was one of those times when the earth stopped moving for a few moments. He immediately looked embarrassed, as if the words had accidentally fallen out of his mouth and he was not quite sure what to do next.
I don’t remember what I said. I think I said, “No, I didn’t know that.” But I don’t think I said “I love you” back. That would have been like polite conversation … like serving the ball back in a civilized sport … like committing to something I thought was not possible for me.
But I know we walked together that night and many others.
And we drove up and down the Bluegrass Parkway for two years after he moved away … just to be together.
I know I experienced pain when he drove away each time and an indescribable giddy joy every time he returned.
And I know that somewhere in there I was able to say the words, like a symphony rising up from inside me. “I love you, Jay. I honestly love you.”
We have repeated those words to each other millions of times over the next 45 plus years. We said it in joy after our wedding, after the birth of our daughter and when exploring beaches and mountains and everything in between.
We said it in the sunshine, the rain and in the dark. We said it watching sunsets together and wondering what it would be like to explore the other side of sunset together.
We said it when there was nothing else to say that would cover fear, doubt and grief.
We said it after storms of anger, when we realized that even though we were weak and still vulnerable to hurt, there was a Power within us that was bigger than any temporary storm. We honestly loved each other.
We said it when we discovered The Source of all that Power and we realized The One Who lived inside us was alive, constantly broadcasting Love.
Olivia Newton-John died recently. I smile to remember how a couple of her songs described us so well. The links to two of them are at the end of this post.
Now when I reflect, I think of all the times Jay and I shared love … each one a diamond still sparkling, all together now a beautiful Light that still guides us.
Just as a post script, it’s not all moonlight and roses. Usually right after I write something super sappy about Jay, he makes me really mad about something … and I want to retract everything I just wrote.
But I can’t. You see, I honestly love him.