Sunday, August 21, 2011

i was a child

I cook a dinner of fresh ravioli topped with a sauce supplemented with fresh veggies from our visit to the farm stand yesterday. Roi is out in the driveway fixing something on his motorcycle (for some reason I find it necessary to point out that said motorcycle is NOT a Harley nor one of those new "crotch-rockets", but rather an understated classic). 

I call out to Roi from the front porch that dinner is ready and he jumps to attention and hastily puts away his tools and something in my chest squeezes and stops for a moment. Roi is hungry, of course, but he's acting eager on my account. To please me. To do something right. The world tilts and shifts suddenly and here now comes across the yard a man who is loving me in the best way he knows how what with all his damage and while this doesn't incite something I could identify as love, it does make me tender.

It's not my fault he's been wrecked in the ways he has, and I should never have been a recipient of the fall-out. And his earnest bids for love are so ill-timed and over-done they can't possibly undo the betrayals and abandonment. But watching him "hop-to", earnest and child-like, I cannot in this moment hate him as I have. The early evening sun slants down through the tall oaks and pines softly touching his shoulders, his blonde head, and I hear him saying, "I was a child once".

After dinner he invites me upstairs so he can make his amends. He delivers them matter-of-factly, pulling absently at the tuft of hair on his chest as he speaks, the two of us lying side by side on the bed. He has an action plan, he intends to carry it out. I don't look at him, but instead at our feet stacked in a row, his baritone words vibrating through the mattress across the back of my shoulders. I am neither angry at all he has omitted nor softened by his commitment. I am simply perplexed at what comes next. I'm not sure what I was expecting; I hadn't bothered to imagine this moment.

I bring up honesty and we bat at the topic philosophically for a few minutes until that dissolves and then we lay there quietly. He notices that he is developing a bald spot on the side of his leg and I cluck in empathy over the plight of aging. 

Shouldn't I be crying, I wonder. Should this be so casual? Like a couple mechanically following the routine of their day after decades of marriage.