4/23/10

At first

I saw him first through a small window on a wooden door. The living room full of people shouted RYAN! to the stocking capped and goatied man peeking. He ducked.

I laughed.

He popped up and then in and through, being tackled by old college buddies. He tackled back, to the floor, rolling and yelling.

He was loud.

I laughed.

I knew hardly anyone at the party and I was feeling insecure in the not knowing and small talk. There were appetizers and only sodas to drink. No alcohol, my usual defense, the wall I would build between myself and my lacking self worth, to look at ease and confident.

He sat down by the chips and salsa and he asked what I do. I told him that I was a social worker. He stammered a bit, trying to think of the next question. He said, what uh...what um...

Population? I asked, thinking he was asking what population of people I worked with, a social worker term for caseloads, our "population."

He burst out in a confused laugh. Population?

Oh sorry. I thought you were asking...well, anyway, I work with people with mental illnesses.

He smiled and looked interested and asked more.

That's all I remember of that night.

~~~~~

Three months later I called my friend Jenn to ask what she was doing. She said she had plans with Ryan and would I like to come along. Sure, why not? I only vaguely remembered the funny guy from the party.

He was funny again, nervous and laughing. The kind of laugh that only his twin brother could share.

We laughed a lot.

That's all I remember. I liked being with him.

~~~~~

We hung out as the three musketeers for days and days and nights and nights, he and Jenn and me. And what I remember most was the night that we went to hear his brother play at the Cedar. The place was packed and so we had to sit against the wall on a bench, and I remember the way it forced us to the edge of our seats with its smallness. He didn't drink and that was new to me. People were drinking but we weren't and I was surprised that I didn't care.

It was him and then me and then Jenn, sitting in a row and we listened as the jazz filled the place with a vengeance, powerful and moving. I remember feeling a pull, a strange something happening to my arm, wanting to touch his. Electric.

I wanted to lean into him, to find safety. I wanted to stay.

~~~~~

We spent more time then, just the two of us, over coffee and movies and music. Calling all the time, he would leave me voicemails at work that would make my days and fill them with laughter, lightening my caseload.

You can call me back. Or you can send me an email. Or a message via a carrier pigeon...whichever...

And my heart would flutter.

~~~~~

He was in New York to see his brother play at the Village Vanguard on that first Valentine's Day. We still hadn't acted as more than friends, still didn't know what it was we were doing. And as I drove to my friend's house for dinner, my cell phone rang.

Will you be my Valentine?

Why, YES. I will.

laughter.

And then he was catching a cab, his Dad waiting on the corner and so we said goodbye.

And I was falling for him and I floated.

~~~~~

It's good to remember back. It helps the now while we're trying so hard.

He travels for work and when he comes home I breathe easier and flutter and float.
It's not easy. Never ever even once easy. Marriage is a beautiful struggle. And I am his and he is mine and we will see it through.

40 clicked right here to comment:

amanda said...

"breathe easier and flutter and float"

so very. very. true. when mine is away i feel like a piece of me is literally missing. and i am just a tidge off balance. when he is back? i feel whole.

Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children said...

So important to reminisce. Beautiful and so, so true.

kirsten said...

so hard, those long days/nights when the hubs is gone. In the void, the dark thoughts fill in: *all* the ways he leaves you holding the fort, *all* the ways you are expected to be responsible.

But you've got the ticket, my friend: remember the ways that he makes you laugh, the ways he lifts you up, and most of all the gentle ways he forgives you your weaknesses.

For me, that's the way to get through the long & lonely, and you've done a beautiful job of capturing that.

Lindsey said...

such a nice testament to a man you clearly adore.
my husband is a twin too! :)

Kelly said...

I love this. Marriage is so hard, but it gets a tiny bit easier when we remember the floating and the butterflies.

Kori said...

What wonderful, beautiful words, and I think he is so, so lucky.

MidnightCafe said...

Ah, yes, there is beauty in the remembering...and in seeing how much is still true but different in the here and now. You are both so very blessed. Keep holding on.

Sarah said...

Marriage is so much work that it's so easy to forget how it all started. Effortlessly. With it's own agenda.

Beautiful piece, Heather.

The mad woman behind the blog said...

Wow. That was beautiful and I'm envious.
Thank you for sharing this!

Heather of the EO said...

Thank you. Alls of yous.

and mad woman,
please no being envious. Cause um...we, my man and I, are nowhere near perfect and neither is our messy marriage. That is why it helps so much to look back :)

HisFireFly said...

A beautiful struggle indeed and one I thank God for each day.

Your words crept deep inside and moved me today Heather, thank you!

Becca said...

Looking back is a gift and a blessing. Because we're not all the same people we were when we fell in love. But remembering is sweet. Thanks for sharing the laughs and the flutters.

Becca said...

Looking back is a gift and a blessing. Because we're not all the same people we were when we fell in love. But remembering is sweet. Thanks for sharing the laughs and the flutters.

sara said...

Marriage..never easy, but wonderful none the less! After 26 years, I find that looking back, remembering and then facing forward and toward through Christ is the only way.

TKW said...

You're so right--it's good to look back and remember what it was about that person that drew you in, made your heart flip over.

Marriage is, by no means, easy. Especially when children are young and need so very much of your time, love, attention, energy. But your heart is in the right place. You are in it. Together.

Hyacynth said...

I.Love.This.Post.

We do; we need to remember those days -- hold onto them, simmer in them, recall them, especially when the house/kids/work/life distracts us. Words escape me because my mind is so racing with all kinds of thoughts, but I'm hugging my husband a little tighter when he gets home from work tonight.

Wendi@Every Day Miracles said...

Ahh Heather - this made me all choked up. Because it's not easy and it is so beautiful and hard and messy and nice.

Kazzy said...

Martin Luther called marriage the school of love. Constant learning, and homework, and sometimes a red pen making marks.

Elena said...

Beautiful. Heartfelt.

Jen said...

I LOVE this line "Marriage is a beautiful struggle. And I am his and he is mine and we will see it through." So true and beautiful.

Charlotte said...

Sometimes, when it is really hard, I cling to the happy memories with all I have. They've gotten me through many a rough patch. Thanks for the reminder, I'm due for some reminiscing myself.

Susan said...

It sounds like you've found a wonderful spouse :) What a blessing!

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

I love to hear stories like this. :)

And also, I should probably do a little more remembering. It seems the busier life gets, the less I can remember of how we came to be. Sad.

Corinne said...

I love reading love stories. So sweet... so lovely... the remembering the good is what gets us through.

DianneG2587 said...

先告訴自己希望成為什麼樣的人,然後一步一步實踐必要的步驟。........................................

Jenn said...

Brought tears to my eyes...absolutely gorgeous, Heather!

deb said...

and on our 22 year anniversary, I can relate. We love the good in each other, love to let the good shine, watch how it grows beauty.

Angie said...

" Marriage is a beautiful struggle. And I am his and he is mine and we will see it through."

This SO defines my life right now! Thank you for reminding me to remember the good.

Billy Coffey said...

"...a beautiful struggle." That's perfect. Because marriage is hard and painful sometimes, and because you can love someone and be loved and discover that sometimes love isn't enough. But you continue on, because you know in the end what you have is a gift you have to both receive and give every day.

Ashleigh (Heart and Home) said...

"a beautiful struggle"

Yes, that.

I adore your heart, more each day.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

lovely!

a Tonggu Momma said...

It DOES help during the tough times. Remembering back... it helps.

Jo@Mylestones said...

Oh I just loved your post. What else is new.
"It's not easy. Never ever even once easy. Marriage is a beautiful struggle."
Thank you for saying this "out loud." I get so easily discouraged, like it must just be me that has to work so hard only to fail so much. Remembering back helps me too. A lot.

Ash said...

I think the official vows should be changed to "for worse and for better" - sickness comes first, why not worse?

A beautiful struggle indeed. So glad you still get the flutters too!

hezro said...

I enjoyed reading this post! :)

Boy Crazy said...

When we were a year into parenthood, I went back and re-read my journals from when John and I first started dating and were first married. It helped SO MUCH to look back and remember that tunnel vision I had for him.

I love this post, Heather. (and you.)

xo elizabeth

Rach@In His Hands said...

My heart fluttered a bit for you just reading this...and reminded me to think back, too.

minnesotamom said...

Beautiful. It is so good for me to look back, to remember, to fall in love again and again. Or at least, to try. Thanks!

Elaine A. said...

Sometimes it's kinda crazy to think back on those early days of our relationships. It's hard to explain, I know. Thanks for sharing some of your history with us. That last paragraph really says it all.

Lauren @ Embrace The Detour said...

What a delightful description. I love how you have captured both the memory and the absence of its fullness. You don't remember everything. You don't pretend to. You remember the important things. The telling things. The essential things. Wonderful.

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