Five years ago today I sat outside a Starbucks sipping a coffee, pretending to read a paper, and waiting on a friend I hadn’t seen since high school. When she pulled in and sat down across from me, I looked in her eyes for the first time in twenty years. My heart thumped.
Five years later she is in London on business while I keep things moving here at home – a new web site to build, music to write, products to draw, clients to pacify, dogs to feed and walk and wash. I texted her good morning and she directed me to a card she had hidden among the things on her desk, celebrating this day. A piercing sweetness that surprises me. Like so much about her.
Today, like that day, the season has gone from suffocatingly hot to just hot. Like one of the warmer summer days in the small Ohio town were we met. The dogs pant and soak up the coolness of the tile floor after their walk, and then proceed to underscore the peace of this house with their somnolent breathing and punctuate with an occasional snore. This house is blessed with the gift of her continual presence – even while she’s away.
When I saw her last I told her she was so beautiful. As she always does, she laughed and accused me of blindness. But it is I who truly see. I see the light in her eyes that is a beacon to my soul. I see the gift of love that she’s shared with me. I see the tenderness and thoughtfulness that she gives to everyone around her. As she curses the tiny lines that encroach across her brow I see the thousands of smiles she has shared with me and with the children that she has shown me how to truly love.
The best five years of my life.
I see how different I’ve become as I’ve taken to heart the gentle lessons she’s shared by her example: how to love without judging; how to find the beauty in every moment – even the difficult ones; how to be vulnerable without fear; that silver linings actually exist.
I took a picture of the sky today. I wanted some way to hold this day – this moment – and every moment with her in my heart for as long as I can. I, probably the most unworthy of men, have known love on this earth.