Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 6

A long time ago, while I was between lives, I worked at a large book retailer. For $6.00 an hour I could stand for eight hours and point breathless housewives to the giant shelf of Oprah Book Club books that they had just walked past in order to demand that they hadn't seen it anywhere. I also got to clean the restrooms.

One day, someone did something unspeakable to one of the restrooms and we were all back in the break room fighting about who would have to clean it up. A very cute boy with whom I had never had a shift before, finally sighed and said: "You all are useless. I'll just do it," and walked off with rubber gloves and a mop. I sat and watched him leave and wondered at this boy who would calmly step up to take responsibility for a vile and disgusting task that no one else would touch. I wondered at this boy as I watched him in the days to come, flirt with the middle-aged ladies who ran the office and make them blush. I watched him draw customers in conspiratorially to find the title of a book. I watched him dress up as Waldo from the Where's Waldo book series and entertain a room full of screaming children. I just watched for a while, though, remaining mute and trying to melt into the background.

I watched him save me a seat on a bench for my lunch break, with a cup of hot coffee waiting for me. I watched him dance to Birdhouse In Your Soul in a deserted parking lot in the middle of the night and tell me I was the only bee in his bonnet. I watched him ask my dad important philosophical questions and listen carefully to the answers. I watched him make my mom laugh. I watched him hand over money to my sister so she would quit the job where her boss sexually harassed her. I watched him while he drove us in midnight circles, listening to music and talking about all the world. I watched him introduce me to his friends and family. I watched him leave work to go and sit with his mom at the hospital when she had an emergency hysterectomy. I watched him take his little sister to dance lessons and pick her up again, turning the music up loud and laughing at her junior high silliness.

And then one day I watched him through a plate glass window after the store had closed, as he got down on one knee in the cold and showed me a picture of a ring.

I have watched this boy over the last fourteen and a half years grow into a man - become a husband, a father, a lawyer, a leader. I have watched him get up every day and shoulder responsibilities that the people around him have refused to do. I have watched him walk boldly into unspeakable messes and try to clean them up because it had to be done and no one else was willing. I have watched him work as many hours as were necessary to support us. I have watched him study long into the night for finals with a newborn baby on his shoulder. I have watched him take care, take action, take part, take responsibility. I have watched him bestow fatherly gentleness and affection that he has never received. I have watched him smile just for me. I have watched him dance, I have watched him cry, I have watched him survive, I have watched him live, I have watched him give and give and give.

I sat in a crowded room last night and watched him tell a group of people that his marriage is a tiny piece of the divine. I have watched this man over so many years and I hope for many more. I renew my vows every morning with such humbling gratitude that this man has let me watch him all these years and that he shares his magic with me. 

36 comments:

  1. Dammit I'm not supposed to tear up this easily!
    This was beautiful TangledLou .. thanks for linking up with this gem.
    Here's to many more years!

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    1. Thanks, Larissa! Sorry I made you cry.

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  2. Seriously, that is the most beautiful love story I've heard in a very very long time.

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  3. *swoon* dang, TL. You are both blessed to have each other. xoxo

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  4. Forget all those Hollywood stories, your should be told on the big screen so that young people know what to strive for.

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    1. I don't know about my story, but I think if there were more real love stories told in movies, people in general would be more realistic and more happy with what they had.

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    2. Amen, amen, amen to you both.

      (PS--My hands were slightly off center on the keyboard on my first attempt and I typed smrn, smrn, smrn before catching myself. I am not sure why, but I felt that you might be able to appreciate that.)

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    3. MM - you must know how much I appreciate that. I will be saying "smrn, smrn" all day.

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  5. ridiculously gorgeous. also, i've never heard this 'birdhouse in your soul' song before but i am listening to it as i type this and it is also delightful--just not as pretty as your piece. yay!

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    1. How can you not have heard that song? It's fantastic, no? Thank you for stopping by and for such nice words.

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    1. Thank you, darling. Honestly, I'm a little bit floored by the response it has received.

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  7. TangledLou--this is not just a lovely story, but a reminder to me to appreciate every evening the goofy, giving man who is already in my bed happily snoring. Thanks.

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    1. Mission accomplished, then. We all have so much to appreciate about the people in our lives if we only but look. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Wow, just wow. This your beautiful story! I am making it my mission to be as observant as you ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Sleepy. This observant-ness - it is a double-edged sword, but it makes life magic.

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  9. Oh, man. This gave me goosebumps. I love a really beautiful love story, and this is one of the most beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Michelle, that means so much coming from you. I believe you and I have the same notions of romance. Your story is one of the most romantic and sweet I have ever read.

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  10. I love how the magic is in the details. For me, the magic was the part where he stepped up to clean the bathroom (oh how I hated that part of most jobs I had even though I'm pretty sure that wasn't in the job description); he had a cup of coffee ready for you; how he interacted genuinely with your dad/family; how he showed you a picture of a ring (rather than the 'real' thing); studying with a newborn on his shoulder...thanks for sharing bits of magic from your life, TangledLou. You are truly magical to me.

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    1. I love how you notice the details and take the time to note them. I am honored and flattered. You are the magical one.

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  11. I think this is the best thing you've ever written. It is certainly my favorite.

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  12. Love this. I have tingles. What a sweet, sweet story.

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  13. If I needed any convincing that love is a beautiful thing - then this story is it! And I would read it multiple times, tear up a little bit, read it again and then leave a comment (just like now).

    (Thank you!)

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    1. I see love so maligned all over the place. I am happy to provide some hope and show it in the positive light it deserves.

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  14. This brought tears to my eyes and made me think of my own husband and how much he gives every day without complaining. Beautifully written from the heart!

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    1. Oh, Dawn! Thanks for stopping by. This is why I write: to show these threads that bind so many of us and shed some light on the the wonderful things we share in common.

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  15. How utterly beautiful and moving. Thank heavens for good men. And what is it about bookstore bathrooms? It happened to us, too.

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    1. Thank heavens, indeed.
      And yes, what is the deal with bookstore bathrooms?! I would use a truck stop bathroom before I used a bookstore bathroom after some of the things I've seen people get up to in there. Ack.

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  16. This is just so fantastic that I don't even KNOW what to say. As someone who has been married (a little more messily than this) for twenty-five years, the part the struck closest to home was the renewing the vows every morning. I think that's true in any relationship that lasts any length of time.

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    1. You know, it's my blog, so I get to edit out the messy parts. ;) But I agree, the renewing of vows every morning is key.

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