A LETTER WRITTEN ON THE 1ST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
I write to you as the evening shadows draw close, with the tang of fog upon my breath, the very first of this season. It had been an unlikely December till last week, innocent of sweaters and woolen socks and as I wrap my shawl a little closer, I feel your arms about me as you left this morning for the airport. Joey woke up and you patted him back to sleep, and left me warm and tangled in the sheets, already waiting for you to be back.
It has always been like this, though I never let you know of the waiting. The first time I talked to you, on those typed pages, under the cloak of names artfully chosen, moments became minutes and minutes gathered to hours. When we could talk no more, I was yearning, restless, and loath to admit it.
I gave you my number, to a complete unknown and was scared of my lack of trepidation because, amazingly, no logic I could muster would dismiss my conviction that you were for real. You were not an eighty year old posing to be thirty, or a psychopath stalker and not indeed a woman masquerading as man.
As I talked to you for days that spilled into weeks, I was tremulous, unsure, as a spider thread launched into the breeze and it was as if in you my soul found an anchor. You would talk to me of this and that, of a pompous colleague or of a cab driver gone amok, of the impending marriage in your neighborhood, an art exhibition where a watercolor made you think of me. I would laugh, a building, are you serious? I am really not that fat, you know! You would move on to explain, but my mind would wander, I would stroll in front of the mirror and examine myself, have the years of marriage marked time on my face, am I as slim as before Joey came?
Those were pretty dark times and you my only sunshine. Often, there were days that I shut the windows of my soul. I changed my phone and there was no way for you to reach me but when I opened my e-mail, your words were the first I saw: hope you are fine wherever you are.
Through those months of waiting, whether for the axe to fall or for happiness to strike I do not know, it was your voice that pulled me through and the tug of Joey's fingers. When I see the two of you together, him on your shoulders with a fistful of your hair and your impish grins mirror each other, I am happy I made the decision to be part of your life and to make you a part of ours.
You have become my spirit and my essence, my joy and temptation, the answer to fervent prayers whispered with only half a hope of their fulfillment. I revel in the freedom of the enclosure of your arms, the way I am beautiful to you in the mornings without running even a comb through my hair. And through the times before I married you, what won me over was the way you somehow knew when to hold me close and when to let me be. Especially when wrought out by a stampede of emotions I would go off for long, lonely walks and return with tear stained eyes, tears you knew to be of indecision, frustration, and helplessness, shed for someone else. I would always come back to find you pruning the roses or setting the kettle to boil or simply lying back on the rocking chair under the porch with Joey gurgling in your lap. You would look up, your eyes tranquil, secure and shining with warm, undemanding affection, without the slightest hint of enquiry.
People wiser than I would care to argue with often say that extreme emotions cannot be sustained for long. They use the body as the flame does a candle, and the flame is never stronger than when the candle is at its shortest.
So for a love of two people to survive, it must be immortalized by the death of one or both, or simply get lulled to companionship, or worse still, slowly wilt under the weight of life's mundane tomorrows.
But you were first a stranger, then a friend, afterwards a lover and now my husband. You are the man who left spaces in our togetherness as pauses in the cadence of a song. You saw through my unkempt stance a heart in turmoil, and you I trust with all the simple strength of my heart to be the one who would keep passions kindled across time, keeping at bay both the tragic and the mundane.
I trust as well that each day I pass with you now, one of your arms about my shoulder as you introduce me to your friends, Joey on the other, will remain with me as I grow older. The catch in your voice as you see me step out of the bath when you were trying to tell me about the watchman at your office, the subtle darkening of your eyes as you totally forget what you were saying, grab me in your arms and make me lose my breath in turn, will stay with me. I trust these times will remain with me into the days when your hair would be speckled with gray and I would probably lose my breath climbing the stairs to the terrace.
As I write to you now, I know that when you are back the next week I 'll probably tell you how much I love you and this letter may just seem superfluous.
But you may save this to read again, especially at difficult times. Please know that when you read it in the fifth, tenth or thirtieth year of our marriage, I love you then as I love you today when our marriage is a full year old, and we are miles apart, on our first wedding anniversary.