Dearest D,

Happy birthday, Bear. So now, we’re 17 years apart—until my next birthday. 17. Your lucky number!

Darling. You’re my tranquilizer. When I’m with you, I’m able to stay very calm. I get to be closer to who I want to be and how I want to be, and I’m so thankful I met you, and that we became one. You’ve enabled me to gain the ability to gaze at those things that are truly important, and live a life I can stand firmly behind. When I try to think about, and list off what it is I like about you, so many things pour from my head: “Ah! This… Oh! That…”

First, I like your eyes. When your eyes are fixed on me, my heart trembles like the ocean disturbed by a deep, sudden swell. Do you know how that feels? I find myself pulled excitedly, as if on tenterhooks, and feel that within my body a large amount of water is rushing to one place—all at once—and, at full speed. Your eyes are very beautiful… very different from mine… those baby blue crystals. Your eyelashes are like Chiro’s, only Chiro’s are white, and yours are blonde. I like it both when you’re wearing your glasses and when you’re not, but when you look at me over the top of your frames with that upward glance of yours… it totally grabs my heart.

I love your profile when you’re laughing. My favorite. I like your cute mischievous expression when I teasingly tug at your ears or beard… and, of course, your winks. You wink at me in such an impeccable manner, and at the perfect time always. But please don’t wink at anybody else because that wink belongs to me, and only I’m entitled to it…

Thank you for having found me. When you met me, I was incomplete in a way, trying so hard to fulfill that which was missing inside of me. I was doing all sorts of things recklessly—things out of character—trying to fill time and space. I was always intoxicated when I tagged up with you, wasn’t I? So senseless, doing shots of rum or smoking incessantly before going out to meet you. I wasn’t sure how I should have you in my life. Maybe as a friend. Because I was with someone already. I told you I couldn’t know you as more than just a friend, and drew the evil line. Of course, I was sad and you were crushed. But, you waited and were there for me. You shared your feelings so honestly and earnestly. Can you possibly imagine how happy I was hearing them? There’s that image of you from when we were going up the escalator from the Sanyo train station platform… it frequently occupies my mind, and will remain with me forever… in that moment you took off your glasses and looked at my face shyly, saying: “I want to look at your beautiful eyes…”

You do everything you can around the house and consider it normal. Cleaning, doing the dishes, hanging the laundry… Thank you so much for doing them together with me. We work like some sort of cleaning service professionals… as a team, very focused and in silence. I love it.

You’re the chef in this house and I’m the spoiled diner. Your creations are amazing, always… mouth-droolingly delicious at every turn. Thank you for preparing my lunch so I can take it with me to work. I’m so spoiled, and love coming home to you, seeing you through the picture window cooking our dinner, and pouring your heart out to make me happy. I appreciate it so much, every day.

I love your young-boy-like wholesome heart. It’s like that of an animal. Unblemished. You stop and point to beautiful flowers for me when taking a walk, offering the chance to appreciate their beauty. You perceive everything as it is. You’re a pure creation of nature. I love how we operate on the same wavelength.

I love your talent. Your artistry. Your writing. Your fine rhythm obtained through years’ of drumming. Your wonderful sense of words is enviable and admirable. I’m fascinated by your skill in being able to verbalize anything, and explain things so well for me. You’re so good at explaining, describing, and storytelling.

I love talking with you. You’re always listening intensely—stopping your movement when you’re listening to me. Like when you’re eating and carrying food with the chopsticks to your mouth… even if it’s just before they reach your mouth, you stop eating right then and put down your chopsticks in order to attend to my story! I’m awarded 100% of your attention. It’s such an admirable quality of yours. And, you share your opinions substantially following the listening, and they are very insightful. You always make me laugh. I love your wit. I love that I can also make you laugh. I’m never bored with you laughing together, and I love how our conversations progress from one place to another.

We get drunk together talking endlessly about all sorts of things, gradually morphing into shapeless versions of ourselves. We dive deeper and deeper with our conversations and call out those moments of shared understanding, “Oh yes, that’s exactly that.” And “That makes total sense!” We create all sorts of things while getting drunk—like my Devil’s Pancake, named for my crazy expression of creativity through food. All sorts of things go in there—rum, whiskey, marshmallows, nuts, chocolates, yogurt… and you genuinely appreciate it like you really mean it, devouring my crazy pancake. You’ve introduced me to all sorts of great music—Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Mellencamp, The Clash, and Paolo Conte to name a few… and in the evening, we merrily dance to those songs in our kitchen.

I love walking Chiro with you. It’s very peaceful and lovely. We go up and down the hills around the mountain in our neighborhood, talking about what happened that day and making plans for the future. When we walk Chiro in the early morning after getting up, you share the beautiful views from your “verandas” here and there. When you see cats on the street, or perching on someone’s boundary wall, you wave and share a greeting, “Hello, kitty!” all the while lending them your sweet grin. We’re lucky to see and have misty mountains as a backdrop to our neighbors’ homes and the hills throughout the area. They are just breathtaking every time. After dinner, if it’s early enough and we’re lucky, we get to see the beautiful red color of sunset, sometimes it’s orange, or pink. You say, “Let’s walk that way,” because you want to appreciate that beautiful color of the sky and the clouds. If it’s dark, we check for our moon and the bright red star that’s always there. We confirm it’s shining brightly alright, but we’ve never figured out the star’s name.

You always love me. And, I’ve come to understand for the first time how warm and peaceful it is to be loved fully, and to love someone equally with all my heart. You like my cute little runner’s butt and say it’s sexy. I like that. You appreciate my physique as though you would appreciate a piece of art, and when you’re mesmerized, your eyes adorably follow my movement across the room at home. If you’re a little further from me and I’m out of visibility range for your naked eyes, you take your glasses, put them on, and take a good look at me again—like you’re discovering me for the first time. Seeing you do that, I want to remain your dainty little cat forever. You like my cheeks (though I’m not so fond of them) and kiss me on my chubby cheeks, calling me, “Cheeks.” Please keep me as your baby girl even when I’m a Grandma. You call me by lots of sweet pet names—Baby, Gorgeous, Darling, Cheeks, Legs… Thank you, darling.

When I’m away, you pop into my mind a lot. From there, I daydream about you. I think of what you said and did, trace your face line in my mind, and draw your voice from my memory. I like how you make love to me… forever nascent in your discovery of my body, taking your time with your nose, your lips, your hands…  cherishing every bit of me, and arousing every sense within me. When you do that, I surrender and relax.

You’re the only one who makes me feel jealous. I’m generally a cool woman, not attached to things so much and mildly aloof from the world. But with you, I want to have you all to myself. I don’t want anyone to experience your sweetness and niceness. I want to keep every piece of you mine—my privilege alone. I’m, of course, the only one who’s entitled to your handsome winks.

I’m very much looking forward to our evolution. Our little Maplopo will grow too, with us throwing various ideas to one another and creating fun stuff! I want us to be a cute Grandpa and Grandma, rocking our gray hairs (or no hair and gray beard) walking hand in hand, forever… affectionately.