Two Or Three Things I Know About Her
I sometimes like to imagine that I’m a victim of teleportation. As if somehow, on some indiscernable date in 2004, I wake up in my weary 35 year old body and am left with no clues on how to navigate my new life. I become increasingly fascinated with the world around me. What room is this? What city is it in? How long have I been in bed? More importantly, who’s the woman sleeping next to me? The imprint on my ring finger tells me that it’s most likely my wife. But who is she? What makes her tick and how did I get so lucky? In those moments, watching her sleep, trying to figure her out, a few things come to mind.
*She’s absolutely brilliant under pressure*
“It‘s really not that bad”, she said for the fifth time. Or maybe it was the seventh. But I couldn’t take my eye off the tire, just as I couldn’t take my eye off the warning light all the way to the stadium. She’s right and I kept telling myself she’s right, but the more I stared at the tire, the flatter it got. That could mean that it’s either rapidly losing air or I’m worrying too much about it. I hoped for the latter as we made our way to the game.
Unfortunately, I was right.
I couldn’t even revel in the glory of being right. After several years of being nothing but wrong, I couldn’t enjoy it. Instead, when the tire thumped as I attempted to drive away, a switch was shut off in my brain. I parked the car, shouted expletives and could do nothing more but stare straight ahead and grip the steering wheel. A wave of panic crashed through all of my windows and flooded my body. I was no longer a functioning human being. I was a turtle hiding in a shell, cowering from the harsh reality outside.
She had the opposite reaction. She wasn’t even upset about being wrong (and she was definitely wrong (and I’m very humble about that fact)). She didn’t sweat a drop, didn’t let any panic show and didn’t even hesitate to spring into action. Before I had even realized it, she had left the car and was well on her way to get help. Calm, composed and on a mission, she navigated the dark parking lot to find the security guard. Five minutes later, a stadium-provided AAA truck was there to fill up the tire with (hopefully) enough air to get to a repair shop.
I took the wheel while she navigated. In a frenzy, I tried to navigate an abnormally bustling Northern Boulevard to the best of my ability. When the windshield started to fog, she took it upon herself to adjust the vents for me, utilizing trial and error until it finally worked. I gazed helplessly at every passing building, none of them being the one I was looking for. But she never lost her composure, confident that we would make it there in one piece.
We arrived at the shop at 10:59, only to discover that they close at 11. My panic kicked back into overdrive as we were told this. There was nowhere else for us to go. You could audibly hear the air releasing from the tire. I was ready to call a cab, abandon it and never look back. That was never an option in her mind, because she’s a rational human being. She calmly explained our situation, asked for any advice and before we knew it, the garage door was reopened and I pulled the car right in.
This fuckin’ girl. I’ll never know how she does it. Without her, my evening would’ve involved tow trucks, hundreds of dollars and a complete mental collapse. Instead, it cost 30 dollars, a partial mental collapse and I was at home eating Taco Bell before midnight. I will never stop being fascinated by just how cool she is. She’s a total rock, the Ying to my Yang, a Johnny on the Spot and for some reason, she wants to waste all of her valuable time with me.
**Her hair is resilient and better than ever**
I can still clearly remember a cold and damp January afternoon. I took a picture of her waiting for the B Train. She still had all the beauty of the girl I fell in love with, but her hair looked like Drew Brees. It took a lot of time to fix that. For the good part of 2 years, I had longer hair than her. Sometimes by design, other times because I was growing a gross and awesome ponytail. But just like her psyche with a flat tire, her hair didn’t relent.
And let me tell you, it was well worth the wait.
Atop her head rests a luscious, healthy head of hair. For the first time, I can see it’s natural brown color, free of all the dyes that I used to know. She has the occasional stray silver strands that shine like tinsel on even the gloomiest day. She refuses to get it cut and I don’t blame her, the length is absolutely perfect. It smells of fruit, even days after its last wash. When it’s humid out, the bottoms flip up and it bounces like a go-go dancer in a shampoo commercial.
It’s thick and full of life. It even feels different when I run my fingers through it. It looks full and fluffy enough to be a pillow and lord knows I’ve tried. Unfortunately, it still tugs at her head and she gets really angry whenever I do it. I’ve spent a long time just stating in fascination of that hair. And she definitely has, as well.
To think that she went from nothing to this is staggering. Skyscrapers have been built with more simplicity. This fuckin’ girl. Leave it to her to go through chemo and come out of it looking even more stunning.
***She’s a never-ending comfort***
It had been a long day. It was the end of a very long week. Which marked the end of a very long summer. But its finality didn’t make me feel any better. I was tired, aching, frazzled, starving, soaked to the bone, alone, caked in mud, and I still had 200 miles to drive.
My knuckles were glowing a fluorescent shade of white as they clung onto the steering wheel for dear life. The rain poured harder and harder as semi trucks passed me at full speed, blinding me further. The grooves in the cheap pavement were filling up with water and it caused me to occasionally lose complete control of the vehicle. I didn’t think there was any way I’d make it without losing my sanity, the car or my life.
So I made a phone call, so I could at least keep one of those things.
Just the sound of her voice cooled my nerves a little. All she had to do was tell me the truth: that I was okay, I was in control and if it somehow got worse, she would find a place for me to stay. But finding a place to stay wasn’t even an option. I had spent the whole summer alone and refused to do it for another night. I was dead-set on coming home to her. To not sleep that night with her in my arms would be nothing short of a complete failure. And she wasn’t going to let me fail. She never does.
So she stayed on the line for hours. Just talking whatever bullshit came to mind. Or sometimes just sitting in silence, listening to each other breathe. Even that was a comfort in those dire hours. Whenever I passed a town, she would look up the weather report, assuring me that everything was lightening up the further south I travelled. She didn’t need to, but she stayed on the phone for hours as I slowly and carefully navigated my way home.
When I unlocked the door, I felt like merely the husk of a human. All of my vibrance had been drained, but damnit, I made it to my front door. When I opened the door, she was sitting innocently on the couch, table propped up, tapping into her iPad totally unfettered. Just how I always imagine her to be.
I don’t remember how long we hugged, but I remember how it made me feel. Warm, welcome, safe, loved, every feeling humans strive to grasp. This fuckin’ girl. There I was, worked to the bone and at the brink of collapse and just a few words and an embrace made me feel normal.
But really though, just who is this person sleeping next to me? She’s the Sun and moon. She’s everything that I ever wanted in a partner. She’s the reason I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night. We’ve gone through a lot of trials and tribulations during our 3 years of marriage. But none of those facts have ever been diluted. She’s the love of my life and I’m completely obsessed with her as she is with me. Even so much so that when I pretend she’s a stranger, I can’t help but to rattle off two or three things that I know about her.