Abstract rendering: the inner workings of a joyful heart.
My husband’s words do not flow freely or easily. He is a quiet man. On special occasions like our anniversary or my birthday, he draws flowers and balloons on a folded piece of paper using crayons left over from our son’s childhood. Somewhere in our house, there’s a secret stash of yellow paper he uses to make his cards. He neatly prints his multi-colored words, because his handwriting is nearly illegible. The word love is always there.
He used to buy me cards — big beautiful Hallmark cards that he took time to examine until he found the one that read closest to how he truly felt. I knew that about him. But, like everything else, cards kept getting more expensive, and we decided that we would rather save pennies where we could, and take a trip somewhere instead. Now, we make our cards for one another.
This is my card to him. A rendering of my happy heart, and love because that is the most important word we will ever need.
On his first morning home from the hospital I listen to the sound of my husband walking, bare feet padding determinedly along the floor. I am reassured by the sound of his footsteps tracing a back and forth route from the laundry room at one end of the house to the kitchen at the other. Instructed to walk a mile every day of his convalescence, he is dedicated to the task. He walks the route several times throughout the day.
After a few days his stride picks up, his heels land stronger, with force enough to rattle the small things cluttering the table and the desktop. A few days more and he graduates to walking the driveway. I cannot hear his footsteps outside. I realize I miss the sound.
Weeks before my husband’s surgery, we began walking. We needed the time together, the closeness, the exercise – all of it to be ready for whatever was to come. Yesterday, the thirteenth day after his surgery, he had the catheter and staples removed. There is still work ahead to get him back to where he was, but I look forward to our renewed walking in the evening again.
Today is our anniversary. Today we have been married for thirty years. It’s impossible to calculate how many miles we’ve accumulated in our walking through all that time. Sometimes, I wonder how we’ve managed such a feat. And then I remember this:
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” ~~ Antoine de Saint-Expuery
And I realize that that is the thing that has gotten us to where we are, that looking outward in the same direction. Here’s to us walking, looking outward together for thirty more.
In a few minutes my husband and I are leaving to catch a train to New York. Not sure what we’ll find when we get there in terms of how the city is faring two weeks post Sandy. The trip has been planned since the week before Sandy and was always going to be an adventure anyway. Tomorrow, bright and early (probably too early for me, but I’m up to the task for this), we’ll head to City Hall in lower Manhattan.
I have a silk blouse, a skirt, and kinda high heels for the occasion. My husband has a good shirt and slacks. We want to look nice. The reason being is that we are temporarily leaving Kansas and entering the land of Oz where it is possible for two people who love each other (regardless of their sex) to solemnly swear their devotion before a presiding judge and some witnesses – in this case Bob and I and another friend of the couple.
Champagne will be drunk. Words of love and congratulations will be tossed like confetti about the newlyweds. And there will be laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. And joy so fierce our faces will ache with it.
Above all there will be love.
My wish for my dear friends is time. Time for loving and supporting one another, for long years of a life well-enjoyed. My wish for the world is this: Acceptance and a whole lot of love. Maybe some music and a little peace. That’s all.