We all scream for
ice cream love. If our love was ice cream, our courtship a flavor, it would be every spoonful of limited edition, Ben & Jerry’s Rocky Road-ish. We too are unexpected, sweet, and not for everyone.
In the past fortnight, my love pinched his back, rendering him useless for work, for his daily jaunts. Because Tot and I tend to follow him about the house, we three were confined to bed. Tot hopped ’round our quiet bodies, making us laugh. Paper with crayoned sketches of stick animals covered us. In this bed-ridden state, Husband, who I’ve courted for almost seven years in some form, surprised me. Unsatisfied with my latest stick-piggie-horse, Tot presented a crayon to Husband.
‘Raffe, he said, and in seconds Husband had drawn a splendid giraffe.
My sticks and circles were ashamed.
Shame on you, I said to Husband.
He responded with another simple, yet brilliant drawing. Even Mr. Jibber-jabber Tot had grown silent, and sat crouched in awe of his da-da’s secret talent.
Did I forget? Did I overlook his talent? What else am I overlooking? What else do I simply expect of him these days of spilt milk and dingy garb? I think I cried, then, for having wronged this injured man laying down before me by expecting too much, or maybe too little.
In the past fortnight, there was a storm. Not of rain and thunder, but one of hail and wind in the wee hours of evening when Husband works. This wind was the kind that shakes our white curtains, that worries our black dog, that fascinates our strawberry-haired tot. I held them all, my mouth perpetually shushing, my mind turning to chaos.
A tornado touched down south of us, Mrs. Ketchup, the weather woman said.
Envisioning the tornado’s hula hoop hands slamming open our front door, I wondered how best to protect my babes. My thoughts spun in and atop themselves: carry them all on my back and front, cat-dog-tot, down the steep stairs, to the basement; shove them into the tiny pink crate meant solely for calico cat; expand, stretch my arms, my fingers and toes ’til I cover every plastic inch. Then and only then does the tornado take the house, the stairs, and tramples my body in its many hoops. As it spins me in its skirts, I smile knowing my babes are tucked safely away. They cannot even feel a breeze on their cheeks as they wait patiently for Husband’s return.
How funny where a momma’s brain will fly when faced with a glimpse of fear. Upon contemplating an unlikely yet palpable occurrence, Husband sent me the briefest of texts. How sweet and well-timed it was, knowing he used his lunch break to find telephonic cellular bars in order to reach us in the only way he could. The comfort he provided signaled the sweet spot of my brain devoted to Rocky Road-ish, Ben + Jerry bliss.
Not for Everyone:
In the past fortnight, I’ve fallen away from him, I’ve fallen beside him, I’ve fallen in spite of him, I’ve fallen at the sight of him, and I’ve fallen in love with him. True, I could have chosen an easier path.
- I could have married my best friend, who knew all variations of me best. We could have danced while making dinner to any song that happened on the radio. We could had the kind of love where each night is a slumber party in miniature.
- I could have married a wealthy man, who would have allowed me to focus on my art rather than fretting over every nickle+dime. He would have pushed and pushed until I published my short story collection, my novel–both collecting dust in a basement storage container. All of this would have occurred in the city of wind with which to write upon.
- I could have married the Eco-conscious fellow, who dreamt of living off land in the south–him raising our brood, me teaching writing at a local university. We would live free from the confines of meat-filled entrees, of pesticides, of underwear.
But I chose you, Husband.
Because I want a lover, not a friend.
Because I want material to write about instead of material possessions.
Because I want my underwear.
I chose you Husband, and the labor of loving you: someone who desires small towns, meat, and family close by. These things scare but (often times) suit me just fine.
I’m no peach to love, you see. You genuinely see. And I have these maddening smiles produced by the sheer sight of you coming in the back door, dressed in uniform, Igloo lunch box in hand. We, Tot/the fur babies/me, cannot get enough of your long limbs, your long beard, your long talks with everyone you meet. That is how I first found you, how I first fell. You, pulling out that imaginary lawn chair and sitting to talk for hours with me. I know that you think I cannot stand it when you leave for the store only to return hours later with nothing from the list because you lawn-chaired anyone and no one. But I secretly envy your gift of easy conversation, your willingness to move from storming mad at the woman in the Tesla who parked in our parking spot only to become friends and listen to her life story.
P.S. I eat this ice cream up every night. What is your weakness in love and life?