A Reluctant Tenderness: Asperger’s Fear of Love
June 21, 2012
It is the first heat wave of the summer. For me, that means high anxiety bordering on panic. Not terribly together to begin with, I become totally undone in the heat. Nuzzling up to my husband in bed over morning coffee alleviates some of the gloom and doom. Today, the longest day of the year, is a day I dread, as a child of the longest night.
Tom gets up and brushes his hair. For the first time in all the time I have known him, he offers to brush mine. “It will feel good!” he says. Just in time, I override my almost instinctive Aspie reluctance to try anything new and say, “Okay.” He comes over to me and gently runs his two brushes through my hair. It is hard to say whether it feels GREAT due to the physical act itself or because I feel the love in his hands. I see love all over his face, now wrinkled in a tender smile. As he brushes, he says my hair is beautiful. And to think I almost said no to this. It took me years to learn to overcome my fear of closeness. A battle I still fight.
How did we, two Aspies, get to be so close? We have had 25 years together and gone through some pretty rough times and some pretty tough losses. Maybe the losses have made us more aware of mortality, our own and the mortality of the other. The future is no longer an endless expanse of space reaching up to the sky. It never was. Youth suffers from an “optical delusion of consciousness,” to use Einstein’s words out of context. I now make much more of an attempt to savor every moment with Tom. Of course, I often fall way short of that high aspiration. Partly it is due to my being Aspie, and partly it is a limitation of human nature.
I am infinitely blessed to have Tom in my life, a feeling I have had during most of our time together. It surfaces much more intensely these days. Tom struggles with his Aspieness as well. He shows more love to me while in his “during-the work-week mode.” I understand this now. We both need lots of alone time. It has taken years to learn these lessons but, oh, have the results been well worth the struggle!
Despite our limitations, this moment in time, born this morning, is one I will add to my treasure chest of memories, which I hope will always be there, tucked inside my heart until the day it ceases to beat.