A Fifteen Year Anniversary: a story of my body
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.