Zhivago loved Lara. Once a week he hitched up his sled and flew into town and made love to her. Did his wife ever know? Of course, Tonya knew. But Yuri was a poet. Poets are different. They love more than the ordinary human. And deeper.
Tonya had never lacked for Yuri’s love. He loved her truly. She knew that but her love was not enough. Yuri had more love to give than she needed, than she could take.
Harley knew that his wife was a poet like Zhivago. He had known about the affair for several months now. At first, he was hurt. Then he realized his Ann was with Harley when he needed her. She never took time or space away from their marriage. She was totally present for him when they were together. She seemed to have more love to give him. So, he trusted her and continued to trust her with his love.
Why Ann needed more than he gave or could give him, Harley did not know. Did it have to do with the poems she wrote? They were not love poems. They were poems of the earth, the soil, the farm, the animals. There was one he especially loved. It was a poem of their sheep dog. A dog they called Dawg.
It was not one of her longer poems. Only ten lines. But the poem had a life to it. One of the lines was: “Around and around Dawg runs, herding sheep to their destination, wool shearing.” That was Dawg.
“I have a book,” Ann told him one morning.
“You have a book?” he said, smiling with his love for the poet who was his wife.
“Yes,” she said. “Finally.”
She handed him her book. “Read it please.”
She left to feed the chickens and he read. He consumed the poems. They were like a meal for his soul. A feast. As he read, he realized the poems were a celebration of their lives on the farm. Tears fell from his eyes.
Later she told him about Morris. “I have been having an affair.”
“I know,” Harley said.
“I didn’t know you knew.” There was grief in her voice as if she knew her marriage was over.
“But I did.”
Harley was quiet, listening to his heart.
“I now realize,” she said, her voice a cry against the loneliness and the pain if he left her, “what I would lose if I lost you. You, and this farm, are my life.”
He didn’t need to know but he asked anyway. “Why did you do it?”
“I was blocked. I couldn’t write anymore. I was written out. Then it happened. And each time we had sex.” She did not say “make love”. “Each time we had sex, a poem began to form. A poem of you and the farm. And the betrayal. But it’s over now.”
And it was. He knew every time he held Ann that it was over. He knew every time he saw her smile or her sadness, each time she spoke, he knew that it was over. She would no longer go chasing rainbows. Her rainbow was the farm and his arms.
His Zhivago had returned and she would not be going off to some Morris for the love she needed. Harley was enough for Ann and he loved her even more for that.