Blog in English follows the poem in Spanish.
Intimidad – Mario Benedetti
el tiempo hace o deshace
no le importan tu sueño
ni mi sueño
o demasiado cautos
pensamos que no cae
creemos que es eterno
que la batalla es nuestra
o de ninguno
pero esa destrucción
es una broma
un detalle una ráfaga
un abrirse y cerrarse
ya nuestra intimidad
es tan inmensa
que la muerte la esconde
en su vacío
quiero que me relates
el duelo que te callas
por mi parte te ofrezco
mi última confianza
pero a veces
puede la soledad
It is a pity that there is no translation into English of Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti's passionat poem. He never pulled punches in writing about women, not so the standoffish Jorge Luís Borges who it is said was nagged by his mother.Some may wonder why there is a photograph of my foot that I took in the first few days of February 2021.
The topic in question is all about the intimacies I shared with my Rosemary during our almost 52 years together.
Since we were products of that last century our early intimacies in my mother’s house in Veracruz (1967) in which I made sure our adjoining rooms had well-oiled hinges, were what you would call groping in the dark.
Soon after (even before we finally married on February 8 1968) Rosemary paraded her lovely body in her “paños menores”. This was an expression coined by my Manila-born Spanish grandmother that translates to “minor underthings”.
I have no idea how Rosemary, who lived her early years in a very small Ontario town, New Dublin, became such a fabulous exhibitionist.
My Rosemary was hermetic about her past life. When we met she was 23 years old and she had brought a group of Canadian students to Mexico City for a program that was called Program for International Living. Because she graduated from Queen’s in 1966 my eldest daughter Ale has pointed out that Rosemary probably had little experience or time for romance until she met this Argentine rake.
My Rosemary was a cool lover (not too much – just right) except for a memorable evening in Mexico City sometime in April of 1971. Our Hilary was born on December 17, 1971 so counting back nine months I would calculate she was conceived in the beginning or mid-April of that year. How do I know?
Rosemary had gone to visit her mother and she might have told her that we were having a rough time. Her mother, Marjorie, must have told her, “Go back to Mexico City and make sure you have another child.”
I went to pick up Rosemary at the Benito Juárez Airport and she was wearing this tight orange-yellow print dress which I was familiar with. But I did not recollect it being that short.
Since this is a blog that expresses finesse I can only report that I was subjected to a most passionate assault on my body.
Whenever our daughters were in school Rosemary and I sometimes indulged in that Mexican bulwark called the lazy, afternoon siesta. Luckily no further children were born.
While Rosemary always had a lovely face and she was moderately endowed with a lovely chest it was just looking at her legs (only my mother had such nice legs and unlike Borges’s mother she never really nagged me) that raised the temperature even in those cold Mexico City nights.
Because we had a live-in housekeeper this meant that Rosemary and I experienced quite a few weekends in lovely Mexican towns where we could imagine that we were not yet married and groping was allowed.
Once in Vancouver, sometime in the mid 80s this man came down with mumps. Our family doctor had never had a full grown male come down with that malady. But he did tell me that my child bearing days were over. That did not seem to affect my Rosemary much. It was about then when we started to take tub baths together. Once we moved to our Kerrisdale home which had a lovely tub our tub baths increased in frequency. They persisted in our Kitsilano home. The tub was smaller. Feet got in the way.
That brings me to the photograph illustrating this blog. In all our years we always slept in the same bed. We read in the same bed, had snacks in the same bed, breakfasted in the same bed. The only time I was really banned from being on it was when Rosemary tutored, Hilary and later our two granddaughters Rebecca and Lauren.
Rosemary had a penchant for nice towels and nice sheets. This is probably the reason why it is only now that I will probably snip in two our Hudson’s Bay card. Our bed was always well made and those sheets were pristine and were always changed on Mondays.
On those few really hot August evenings we both slept on the bed with no covers and our paños menores were reduced to none. This was a luxury we loved. Lucky for me, Rosemary wore lovely white or light blue silk nighties. My choice for many years was the male nightgown. It does not have to be removed, when necessary (unlike pyjama pants). So stuff happened with frequency until Rosemary became sick halfway through 2020.
Anybody who has been patient enough to get to here will now understand the presence of my foot.
Rosemary complained when I did not cut my toenails and I would scratch her with my preliminary attempts at playing footsies in bed.
I really do not need to snip my toenails (socks last longer if you do), but I did so in honour of her memory. I did cry even if it did not physically hurt.