A Fifteen Year Anniversary: a story of my body


kiss at wedding

For Seth on our 15th Anniversary:

My body was in a heavy gown, so simple and white, A-line. It cost $250. I wore a small veil, one for little girls at their christening, but no one knew it. The trees were red as only Alabama autumn displays on maple leaves. I was 20 years old.

My body was a vessel. I had carried things, a child. I was like a cup by the sink: fill me clean with water.

My body was in a metaphor. I walked out to drums, and Seth cried. In the metaphor he was lover of the soul, lover of me all. He put cake in my mouth. He learned the tiny buttons down my back.

What did my body know? What did I know?

They say the hips are the junk drawer of the body. It’s where we keep memories and impurities like extra batteries and rubberbands. I don’t know what my hips would think if they could, especially now that I’ve pushed out four of his sons.  My hips have a memory for holding babies jutted to the side. My muscles hold me up like a woman who has mothered long. I am shaped  like a woman who holds futures. I also hold the past. It’s all I can do to let it go.

My body has a belonging. My mind and my soul tell me so. I am one whole person made of three parts. My husband loves me three ways: junk-drawer hips, storied mind, gypsy soul.

These fifteen years, my body has aged more than I would have guessed. In the mornings we scoot our feet to the coffee, and lately I sit with him. He has a morning chair, like an old man surrounded by books. He reads to me, and I make him stop and reread sentences about “the sacrament of time.” His attention is so steady. I stand up to adjust my pajama pants more than he moves a hand to lift the coffee cup.

Somehow we have learned to fall in love again. This is what we have done for 15 years. In love with the boychild or the liturgy or the song, we are always falling. Sometimes my whole self, my mind, is falling, and I have reached out with my body and said, “Are you still with me?” Across the bed: will you ever leave me? 

It takes a free spirit to make a free body, and no matter how gypsy the soul, the spirit is only free when it is convinced of loved.

My body tells my spirit so: he’ll go to his grave trying to convince you of his love.

Fifteen years in, Seth, and I think I’m starting to believe you.

More now than ever, I love you.

Amber

amberhaines
About me

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15 Comments

Jenny Beth Walker
Reply November 13, 2014

Beautiful...so much of it I can relate to. A 20 year old bride in a $250 dress.

Kamille@Redeeming_table
Reply November 13, 2014

So very lovely. Happy anniversary.

ats
Reply November 13, 2014

I'm a puddle of tears. This moved me to stand up from my desk and tell someone about you. About how you write to the middle of everything. Thank you and have a great day xo

Helen Washington
Reply November 13, 2014

Happy Anniversary!
This is truly one of the most beautiful tributes to marriage and oneness.
Thank you for sharing it with us.

Megan Tietz
Reply November 13, 2014

Oh Seth and Amber. Two of my very favorites. Oh, happy day to you! Amber, this is just stunning, like all the words you write.

Jennifer Upton
Reply November 13, 2014

and i am a soppy mess as once again you wrote out a piece of not only your layers but of mine (and others I'm sure). next week my covenant love and i will celebrate 20 years of marriage. i carry your words withe me and will write out my own through images. love to you and your man.

Tara L
Reply November 13, 2014

Keep going, guys! We are with you an for you. (And also, tomorrow is our 16th anniversary.)
Love and solidarity and whispered prayers,
Tara

Vanessa Moates
Reply November 13, 2014

Congratulations!!!! Such a relatable story. My husband sits surrounded by books in the morning while I sit across from him with coffee and pajamas :) Most special time of our day! Please tell Seth, John and Vanessa Moates say HI !! They grew up together.

Jane Owen
Reply November 13, 2014

Happy Anniversary!
This- "Fifteen years in, Seth, and I think I’m starting to believe you." is everything right.

Diana Trautwein
Reply November 13, 2014

Ah, so lovely. SO lovely. Thank you. And congratulations to you both. I, too, was a 20-year-old bride, with a worn-in-a-fashion-show $60 dress, adorned with an extra $100 worth of Alencon lace. Sadly, the silver fish destroyed all but part of the bodice. We mark 49 next month. Yegads.

Alison
Reply November 14, 2014

I waited all my life, then met someone who could love me like you are loved, whom I loved so deeply. Then he turned from me, and didn't.
This is how I know when I read your story that you are twice blessed, once because you found each another, twice because you remain with each other. And maybe it takes that long (at least) to really know love.
Well done, both!

Jenni
Reply November 15, 2014

you are so utterly gifted.

Elizabeth Marshall
Reply November 22, 2014

Happy anny and tens upon tenfold more ♡

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