Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nine

Nine:
  1. When we were still dating and your English was fragmentary and tenuous. I was taking you home one afternoon and you reached across the console and took my hand as I was driving. And you smiled, peering out at the road ahead of us and you said, "I don't be lonely no more, now I have my Dade."

  2. As I watched the Honda Civic creep out of the DMV parking lot. You were at the wheel and the driving test administrator sat next to you, clipboard in hand. I felt helpless watching the car pull away without me. And my heart was full of pride and hope and fear. Pride, because it was I who taught you how to drive. Fear, because I knew how disappointed and hurt you would be if you didn't pass. And hope, because I wanted it badly for you, even though it meant you'd need me less.

  3. When we said goodbye in the airport security line. You were bound for Dakar. I must stay and we would be apart for a time. And I'd been discreetly weeping all day at the thought of our separation, but I was trying to hold it together. And when the time came for you to pass through the metal detectors, you turned to me smiling bravely, and said "Bye, honey," but your voice broke, setting my tears free. And I cried as I drove home without you, remembering how you looked as you waved goodbye from the far side of the security panels, your form strobed by the faceless shapes of people passing between us.

  4. When I led you down to the bench in Waterfront Park. You moved gingerly. The pain of your recent surgery and the grief of your father's passing enveloped you in agony. And I tried to feel what you felt, to make me alive and hyper-aware for some way to alleviate your suffering. And you held my hand and we watched the people go by: the strollers and the skaters, the hopeful and the homeless.

  5. As I watched them present you with your Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate. You were proud and I was proud and the people who knew you, who had worked and studied with you, all loved you. And the residents, whom you cared for --the double-amputee diabetes victim, the confused old woman, the bent and broken veteran --they all loved you, too, because they knew that the care you gave them was given out of compassion and basic human decency. I could tell they knew by the way they looked at you.
     
  6. When I was suffering and full of doubt. When I believed I had failed, was failing, would always fail. We were in the car, driving to look at the condominium we were going to buy and you asked me what you could do. And I said, "Just love me, honey." And you said, "I do love you. You're a good husband." You drew out the word "good" for emphasis, which made me cry. Because I was afraid that I would fail you, too. But you would have none of it. "You're a good husband," you insisted.

  7. When Youssou N'dour came on the YouTube feed and you sprang up from the couch and danced an Mbalax dance out of sheer joy. You turned your face to the ceiling, a raptured, open-mouth smile beaming out to the heavens beyond. A moment of joyful abandon with only me to bear witness. But I testify. I testify now.

  8. When you surprised me with kibbeh. I had wanted Lebanese food for supper, but you, ever mindful of my health, didn't want to go to Nicholas. You were concerned that I would eat too much bread. So, we didn't go. But then you surprised me because you had secretly gotten take-out kibbeh as a special treat for me. Your smile --your beautiful, delighted smile --told me how very pleased you were to please me.

  9. When I wonder, every day. What laws of divine justice or what random firing in the cosmos endowed me with this reward? Is it possible that I deserve this? I can't believe it. I'm not all that. I'm just not. Humbling. It's all very, very humbling.
Happy 9th Anniversary, my love. My Mat. My beautiful wife.

2 comments:

MLaFayette said...

Seeing your love develop over the years has been a true blessing for Mykall and I. Relationships will always have their struggles; however, the love that ensues from those struggles is more than worth the wait and the wonder. We love you both. <3

Debora Macbeth said...

Geez, I love you Dade... and I totally love that you have found such a gentle, kind and loving woman for your wife and partner! Your words are ever inspiring and full of love... totally brought tears to my eyes!!! and I so wish we could see you again someday soon!!!