Sunday, April 6, 2014

Briefly

Photo Credit: http://woodennest.tumblr.com/post/66372025456
Maybe it was desperate. Maybe not. There was something about the moment that needed touch, as if tactile affirmation could somehow coalesce into the forgiveness she was seeking. It was an olive branch of sorts, a white flag not of surrender, but of comprehension, understanding… Acceptance.

It was the recognition that although it was nothing she had ever comprehended could be, it was amendable to her. She would accept it, assimilate it, absorb it into her being and allow it to become a part of her. Like tendrils of wild ivy, she would reach out and touch him, pull him closer, wrap him safely in her grasp and cement him to her, the softness of her touch deceptively strong in its persistence. 

There was only a moment in time marked by the tender caress of her fingertips, trailing soft and gentle over his bared forearm, only seconds to convey the warmth that had been missing from them that morning. Only briefly did she touch his skin, but the magnitude of it, the sincerity - they swelled and cascaded over him like the waves on the beach of their honeymoon, making love in the sand. In that one gesture, that one sacrificial motion, there was tranquility.

She need not look at him, his eyes forward on the road as it unfurled before them, to determine the effect of it. She felt it in his exhale, in his shoulders dropping, in his thighs relaxing into the seat. It was all that she needed. To know there would be peace, even at the expense of her desires, was more important for now. To be right, righteous, confirmed - it was hollow victory to being happy.

Something inside her shattered and it was a revelation to her heart. Sacrifice was no longer about an exchange, one giving now to get later on, but about the joy that was created in the extermination of one's ego. Suddenly and without warning she understood what it was to be married and the comprehension filled her with quiet triumph, stretching beneath her skin slowly, languidly. The lesson permeated her with its quiet surety, parts of it looming with the painful reality, parts of it lulling her into a sleepy welcome.

There would be more of it; more sacrifice for him, more disappointments and exposition of her fairy tale misconceptions. There would be more taking than giving and more misunderstandings. That was the nature of this life. In this moment, however, right here in the warm sunshine on the road to celebration and cacophony, there was peace and acceptance and it felt like a gift to herself as much as a bestowal on him.

She inhaled deeply of it and allowed her hand to fall from his warmth, ready to return it to her lap and the hum of the asphalt before them. Before she could move herself away, return to her own bubble of isolation, he grasped her hand in his and squeezed, holding her fast to him. His answer to her touch was one of firmness, of steady solidarity, it was his declaration without saying a word.

Yes, marriage is about sacrifice, about loss of oneself into the joining of the two, but it is also about union of mind. Marriage is about the welcoming of one lover's selfishness and enfolding it into our undeserved caress with the realization that they too have released expectations in order to return our love. Marriage in surrounded in inequality, in unrequited desires, in shattered dreams. It can only be successful if we lose the desire to keep score and in that moment, with less hesitation than she could have imagined, she erased the board and slung her chalk along the shoulder of the road.

It was only a touch, briefly delivered in the moment of a morning, but it was a lasting declaration of the rest of their lives.