For Terry Basham, II
I love it when you ask me, “How do you like this tie?” and I only have to grin mischievously for you to know my feelings. I can say “I hate it” without having to say, “I hate it.”
I love it when I place my hand on your arm, and you look at it like you can’t believe I’m touching you, I look at you, offended, and then you smile. (You’re so ornery!)
I love it that I can tell you about a good book and you want to read it.
I love it that when I’m given an opportunity to write something, or do something exciting, you say “Yes, do it! You’ll be great!”
I love it that when we have tense moments, I can look at you and say “Our marriage is a three right now.” You break into a smile that lights up the room, wrap your arms around me and whisper, “Nah, it’s a ten.” And suddenly, it is a ten.(How do you do that?)
I love the look on your face when something you say comes out wrong, and you begin thinking, “Uh oh…what now?”
I love that I can know what you’re thinking just by looking at you...most of the time.
I love it that during the two quiet moments I have each week, I can sit and remember our dating days. I, the bold, spirited young lady; you, the handsome, strong willed young man.
I remember turning toward you abruptly and asking, “Just what are your intentions, anyway?” No one should like me, didn’t you know that?
“I want to marry you.” You looked me straight in the eye and stepped closer, not missing a beat. “I want to take care of you, I want to have children with you – three boys. I want to buy the food you eat, the clothes you wear and the soap you wash with. That’s what I want.” I halfway expected you to sweep me up in your arms like John Wayne to Maureen O’Hara and lay one on me. But, then I realized we were in the church lobby and that would never do. We’d do that later.
Just kidding, everyone!
Never, ever had anyone wanted me, besides my adoring family and they don’t count in this story. (Sorry.) I thought your feelings would fade, given enough time. I thought you’d move on to greener…prettier…pastures. But you didn’t. The months went by and we began to sit together in church and visit afterwards. I learned that you installed your own lavatory in your dorm room! I found out you got your first job at fourteen. I heard a five year old girl on your bus route say that you had been “kind of a blessing” to her. I listened to you preach. I watched you stand up and talk to my father – man to man. And…okay, I admit it. I liked your tan…and the way you looked in a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up.
Time passed, and you still liked me. You even said you loved me.
I couldn’t say those words to you, not for a long time. But you would not be dissuaded, you’d keep proclaiming your love with only a smile from me in return. You’d look at me with admiration in your eyes and say, “It’s okay. I’ll wait.”
Finally, I said it: I love you. I can still recall the look on your face- the surprise, the joy, and the look of love.
It’s been so many years, and yet, not so many. Here we are still loving and laughing. I love seeing you come through our door to our happy, chaotic home. I love grabbing you like John Wayne to Maureen O’Hara and laying one on you. It always takes you by surprise for some reason. And you know, I’d even give you a smooch in the church lobby now! Who cares!
I love snuggling with you on cold, February nights. I love seeing you sit quietly at the end of the table during supper, with five little faces all around, laughing and talking…just like their mother!
As the years roll by, bringing old age and empty nest days nearer, I see more and more what an amazing gift I have been given: the opportunity to love a wonderful man, who is my closest friend on Earth. I know not how many years God will give us. And, I do sometimes ponder that in the stillness of the night. I think to myself, how many years will we have until we are absent one from another? How many nights will I be able to roll over and feel your presence, and you, mine? So, my darling, just in case today is the last day, I want you to know I love you. You’ve made my life like a perpetual movie, and not just any movie, a musical! I’m standing on a grassy hill twirling round and round and singing “The hills are alive, with the sound of music!” I’m in Paris, on the balcony of a luxury hotel, admiring the nighttime lights of the Eiffel Tower. I’m in Ireland, being wooed by the Quiet Man.
And it’s all because of you.