I just finished getting dressed to go to a wedding; you are at an Eagle Scout ceremony where you are helping a young man walk across the bridge that separates adolescence and adulthood.
At this moment, our paths are completely apart.
And yet, as I sit on the floor and type this post, all I can think about is you.
Maybe, it’s because I am wearing the wedding jewelry you gave me….
The original engagement ring which I haven’t worn for nearly eight years because the stone fell out of it and I never got around to repairing it until last December…I think that’s when it was done. I can’t remember. I just know that I never wear it because I am not used to having a ring with a stone on it and I like to shove my hands in my pockets. Which means I am, once more, potentially engendering the destruction of another ring. It’s easier to keep the ring in the jewelry box my parents gave me when I was our daughter’s age.
Around my neck, I am wearing the necklace you gave me to celebrate our marriage, a sapphire surrounded by diamonds. I might wear this once a year, usually to graduation, to honor the graduates. But the never see it because it’s tucked under my graduation hood. Like the ring, I fret over losing my necklace. A careless setting of the clasp, a moment of bad luck (which is normal in my life), a potential theft. It’s easier on my heart if I leave the necklace in the box that has held it for nearly twenty-one years.
But my heart, beloved, is still wrapped up in the center of your palm, or across the ridges of your love-line (even though I don’t believe in palmistry because, according to that…we’re supposed to have four children and that ain’t gonna happen). So much of my life is in balance and counterpoint to yours and we have walked these paths well together.
You’ve hurt me. Our most recent “spat” was this morning over how many times I have fussed at you over the permanent ink marks that are embedded in the grain of my desk. You claim that I have constantly brought it up. I can’t remember the last time I brought it up…with the exception of this morning. We went to our separate corners, fumed, and then when I strapped on my running shoes to work out, you asked me about my frustration level.
One sentence. I expressed the thorn that was biting into my emotions, and then the prickles were expunged and you took the Girl canoeing and I ran 6.4 miles. So I could join you on the Appalachian Trail and get that bumper sticker in the name of Boy Scouts.
My beloved, my lover, I truly do love you still. And though you are not the most verbose man, the pressure of your arm around my waist as you pull me close to you at night is speech-enough for me to know that within the lines of my hand, I have your heart as well.
I’m not good at writing love poetry. I can’t do it. It all sounds the same and Shakespeare did a pretty good job at it the first time. Even now, in this letter to you that you will probably not see, I struggle with finding the right words to give you that will sound sincere or new or real. Because love isn’t just something that can be catalogued into fourteen lines with iambic pentameter and a specific rhyme scheme. It doesn’t live within the text of the Bible or any other religious, sacred document.
It lies within the trust that you showed me today when you handed me your speech for the young man earning his Eagle Scout and you helplessly confessed that the speech wasn’t working and you were out of time. You’re right. The speech was a jumble of knotted words and phrases that had no connectivity with the exception that it was about a fabulous young man. But I had the time because I wasn’t going to the Eagle Scout ceremony. I was going to the ceremony to honor the marriage of a beloved former student.
So I took the computer and did some editing and writing for you.
Beloved, you don’t read what I write. Probably because I’m verbose. Given that I’ve written 740 words at this point, I can only agree. But you read your speech that I edited and had contributed to and you quieted. Your frantic anxiety evaporated and you admitted that you might “shed a tear or two.”
You’ve never told me if you liked my writing. Of course, you haven’t really read anything that I have written.
But you have stood beside me, even if it’s just metaphorically, as I dreamed about writing and getting my novel published. You were the one who took a shattered dream and rewove it together and offered me a new plot line that was believable and so much stronger than the original. And, two years later, I am preparing for the final over-haul edit before starting the next process of literary agent query. You did this for me, beloved. Not because you think I’m a great writer. But because you love me.
In one of my desk drawers, I have the Traveling Writer’s Chest that was a Christmas gift almost twenty years ago. I rarely use it…I’m not good at fountain pens that require dipping into real ink. That and I’m afraid of spilling everything. But, every now and then, I pull out those tools and write a letter to a person who has truly affected me….
Someone like you.
My beloved, you truly are one of my primary sources of joy. You offer me consolation and solace when my world has cracked a little. You helped me hold up my backbone when I feel weak or threatened.
Most of all, you gave me the ability to define my own independence and resilience. The ring and necklace you have given me aren’t shackles or balls and chains. They are merely symbols of our unity.