When love is not madness, it is not love.
~ Pedro Calderon de la Barca
Home at 2:30 this morning. Finished reading a chapter and turned off the light at 3:00. And instead of grabbing my favorite huggy pillow off the floor and drifting away, I rolled over and embraced my wife.
I caressed her cheek. Brushed the hair from her forehead. Ran my hand down the length of her side and let it rest on the curve of her hip. Felt each shiver. And I thought about things we’ve been through during these 20+ years together . . .
Our first night as husband and wife, when we fell asleep on the floor of her grandmother’s cabin. In the early part of the evening of a very long day. How we held each other so tightly under a handmade quilt, having vowed before a great cloud of witnesses to never let go. Following the birth of each of our four children. Even when she would have rather been sleeping, or throwing up, we held each other. At funerals, weddings, and crappy movies. Effortless embraces that carried the weight when words were used up or out of place. Thousands of times between the first and this morning. Each one – whether visceral, frisky, or subliminal – a touch, a point of contact between physical presence and myriad circumstances.
Today, I have to tell her that I’m being laid off. Again. I imagine we’ll hold each other. And though mixed with tears and worries, it will feel like love. Like an unspoken commitment to make things work. She will bear the emotional brunt upon a backbone made of stuff stronger than steel. And in her embrace I’ll find the courage to get out of bed in the morning. If I can convince her to let me go . . .