As a child, I personally witnessed the unfolding of four love stories.
- He was married with a kid and she knew. They talked about them, surely she wasn’t the ‘other’ if she knew. He promised her forever but never that they’d dine alone. He called her his fortress, his happy place, the keeper of his heart. He said his marriage was but a technicality.
- She married her savior, the one whose look undid all the pain in her past. She gift wrapped her heart but he held it with clumsy hands. Post the walk down the aisle life changed drastically, his sticks and stones broke more than her bones, they shattered her heart.
- She had the spirit of an eagle, freely soaring on the wings of the wind. Her eyes borrowed the twinkle of a star and her laughter was the sound of jazz on a cool summer night. That was before death wore his body and unearthed the secrets he had burried in his soul. HIV was his partying gift.
- He was a forest fire and she the forest, her feet rooted on the soil of their marriage. She could only stand in watch whilst his flames devoured life as she knew & preferred it. Left with nothing to show for the years of her labour, she uprooted herself to plant anew.
As you can see, my training never included selflessness in love let alone longevity. By the time i was 15 i knew all i needed to about it and my conclusion was irrevocable, “if you have any kind of self-respect then you just don’t go there.”
Fast forward to a decade later and I’m standing at the alter vowing to you my last breath.
The night before I laid in bed and thought about the years that lead us to that moment. You should have left, we shouldn’t have been there. My words had been the baseball bat that repeatedly broke the windscreen of your heart, so what were you still doing there?
I remembered when we first spoke about it. Like a dream that had been secretly dancing on the periphery of our thoughts now sheepishly whispered. The one thought that felt too lofty to pass through our lips yet somehow always invaded our conversations. A desire that both confused & excited me, how is it that I actually wanted to be your wife?
Lying there realizing that we weren’t talking about some distant future anymore, I had the white dress & everything. People had flown from all corners of life to celebrate our wedding day. I’d wake up tomorrow & my whole morning would be about preparing to stand before our family & friends promising to love you till our time on earth reached its expiration date.
That was never my dream yet now i couldn’t imagine not being here, not wanting this or not loving you.