by Karen Kinley
The name drenches my lips like a fine wine, rich and sophisticated. It conveys someone of great importance. Someone to be both respected and adored. It is a name fit for a king.
“Leopold Andrews,” I say again.
He inherited the name from his father, but he goes simply by Leo.
The name Leopold comes from Old German and means “brave people.” And brave is exactly what Leo is. He has been through some big changes recently and has overcome so much just to be here with me now. But that’s another story for another time.
Leo and I have only known each other for a short while, but he already fills my heart in a way I never could have imagined. Before he came into my life, I was happy. I went to a job I liked every morning and spent my evenings relaxing at home. I ate dinners out with friends, read lots of books, and tended to my vegetables and herbs. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Basil, mint, and rosemary. My life, like my garden, was full. I didn’t think I needed anything more.
But then Leo came along. A part of me loved him before he even knew who I was.
His name brings tears of joy to my eyes. And I have to admit that he was quite a surprise! He showed up when I wasn’t expecting it at all. It’s been said that oftentimes fate will give you exactly what you didn’t know you needed. Oh, how true that is! And now that Leo is a huge part of each of my days, I cannot imagine even a single one without him.
Our hours together are usually spent doing mundane things. Sitting together in front of the TV. Reading quietly on the sofa. Taking naps on lazy afternoons. We really don’t need to do much. I am content to simply be near him.
Sometimes his beauty takes my breath away. His dark hair, long legs, soulful blue eyes. I can’t seem to get enough. He catches me staring all the time, although he doesn’t mind the attention. But Leo is so much more than the way he looks. His charisma draws people in. There isn’t a person in this world who doesn’t like him the moment they meet him. He loves to try new things so every day is an adventure. And he possesses an inner strength that he is only just beginning to reveal to me. But there is a vulnerability to Leo as well. He isn’t afraid to show his true feelings. He can cry just as easily as he can laugh. And my own tears do not scare him away.
Leo is also an incredible listener. I can’t count the times that I chatter on and on about my day or a phone call I received or even something as silly as what socks I’m planning to wear. Leo just sits there listening quietly, his head tilted to the side, and doesn’t say a word. He just lets me talk.
My God, how I love him.
When I was a young girl, I dreamed of exactly this. …of an all-encompassing love that would practically consume me. That would light me up inside so that I could carry it with me everywhere I went. I was just never sure that it was going to happen. But I wished for it just the same. At the time, I couldn’t understand how powerful this love would be. I didn’t realize that this love would support me through the rough days and allow me to be the best me I could be. I couldn’t imagine that I would wake up every morning thinking about him, my mind drifting to thoughts of him countless times throughout the day and long into the night.
But I do.
And when he cries out for me in the dark, I go to him without hesitation, giving my body over to his needs. There are times when his desire exhausts me, leading to many sleepless nights, but I cannot say no.
And oh, how he loves me. He lets me know in a million tiny, amazing ways. His sweet smile, his arms always reaching for me. His face lights up when I enter a room. He doesn’t mind when I kiss him with bad morning breath, or forget to wash the dishes, or sing off-key. And when he’s tired at the end of a long day, he will lay his head on my shoulder and close his eyes.
I am proud to be his. I am honored to be in his life, just as he is in mine. Leo and I share a connection that cannot be broken. Not by time. Not by circumstance. We belong to each other. Forever.
As we sit quietly together in this small room of the home we share, I look forward to our future. Because I have big plans, Leopold Andrews. Very big plans for us.
We will explore the world together: camping, hiking, swimming. We’ll head to the mountains, the beach, and everything in between. I see us taking long walks together, holding hands and sharing secrets. We will experience the magic of Christmas, the blessings of Easter, and the joy of celebrating many birthdays. There will be so many things that we can teach each other. Some days will be filled with music. Some evenings will be spent making wishes on stars. We might even take an art class together or learn a new language. There will be many moments when everything else is still, and there is just us.
Now that my reverie is over, and it is time for sleep, I must say goodnight to him, my sweet Leo. Every evening that I spend with him is a gift. I gaze down at his soft head, cradled in the crook of my arm. This is a sight I will never tire of, never take for granted. Slowly I stand, lifting the warm weight of his body gently so as not to wake him. I kiss my son’s forehead, place him in his crib, and whisper…
“Goodnight, Leopold Andrews.”