080712_213538.jpgDeep into the night, after the boys have gone to bed (well, to their rooms anyway), after the computers have been shut down, after the doors have been locked, after the quiet reading in bed next to each other has concluded, after the glasses and hearing aids are off, after the lights are out, after the pillowtalk has subsided, comes my favorite part of the night.

There’s a number for how many times I’ve done this over our fifteen-ish years, but I couldn’t possibly guess what it would be.

I put my head on his chest, close my eyes, and listen for his heartbeat.

Only this time… it isn’t there.

I feel his chest rising and falling in a comfortably familiar rhythm, and his pulse beating against my cheek. I inhale deeply and pause my breathing a moment as if that would help, and focus all my concentration on hearing that thub-dub thub-dub thub-dub thub-dub that brings me calm in a way nothing else can.

It doesn’t happen.

I can’t hear it.

But I can feel it.

I can feel his chest rise and fall, his skin pulsing against mine.

But I can’t hear it.

And before I even have time to fully process this unwelcome milestone, then another realization hits.

Someday soon, my best friend will say to me, “I love you.”

I will see his lips moving in the familiar pattern. I will see his love for me, and our past and future, shining in his eyes.

But I won’t hear his voice carrying the most important words he’s ever said to me.

It won’t happen.

I won’t hear it.

But I will feel it.

I will feel his arms around me, his deep sigh of content as we embrace.

I won’t hear it.

But I will feel it.

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