Published on February 15th, 2013 | by The Alchemist20
The Love Letters: Letter #10
LETTER #10: Like Fine Wine (2/2)
Emem smiled, letting her husbands words sink in and resisting the urge to jump out of her chair and engulf him in an embrace. She would have once, when they were much younger. But they were not anymore and acts like those would probably exhaust them both. He seemed pleasantly tired, as though reading those words out loud had drained him of some energy, energy she now felt transferred to and rising in her. He was about to say something else when she put her finger to her lips, silencing him. Their renewed vows needed to be read, right after one another, so no other words could come between them. Just as one would not drink anything in between sips of finely-aged vintage wine.
She cleared her throat with a low cough and began to read, her voice slow and deliberate…
My dear Rotimi,
There’s a sound I love to wake up to every morning. A soft purr that serves as a gentle reminder that a new day is upon us.
That sound is reminiscent of the very first time I ever woke up next to you, the morning after we got married. Waking up in your arms felt like my homecoming.
That has to be the nicest word ever said. Fifty years down the road, being with you still feels like coming home. Here, I find the comfort of love and a glass of wine or a cup of tea as is now the case, and a nice bed, and a warm fire, and strong arms, and the ‘silence’ of your purr, and not so sturdy shoulders that don’t break when I lay on them the weight of my desires.
There were times when the comfort of being home wasn’t enough. One wants to see the world, experience things, wander. And I did wander… In the first few years of our life together when work took you away from me ever so often. My mind did the wandering – what am I doing with my life? I could be traveling, seeing the world. And the wondering – Where had you gone? Who were you with? Was this real, us? I was scared…
Of the familiarity of your presence and the consistency of your love. I had longed for that growing up but I never had it until I came home to you. And when I found it, it scared me. It was too good to be true and so I doubted it. My fear kept me from experiencing the joys of motherhood and for ten years I fought a battle I didn’t have to. I resented you for loving me past my doubts – I tried to. When I couldn’t fight it anymore, I gave in to it, that’s when our miracle came; Tobi – And the initial panic that comes from the realization that one is responsible for another’s life.
Fifty years is practically a lifetime. It’s working my way into the warmth of your big, family’s heart. It’s the years of waiting, and the birth of our son. It’s the struggles of parenting and the joys of celebrating each accomplishment.
It’s gaining weight in pregnancy, and losing it to chemotherapy. It’s the rain, the rainbow and the promise of sunshine. It’s years of abundance and years of lack. It’s fighting and making up and kissing and cuddling. It’s learning to speak up and sharing my dreams with you and working with you to make them a reality.
It’s growing up and finding my voice and taking a stand. It’s looking in your eyes and knowing I’d never have to fight alone. It’s kicking cancer’s butt, the struggles after the mastectomy, and seeing you love me through recovery. It’s praying desperately for Temi to awaken from his coma and watching him slowly come back to us.
It’s accepting that my emotions are not a weakness. It’s finally deciding to stop trying too hard and enjoy what we have. It’s living in the moment, and seeing the world and doing the things we love. It’s watching the sun rise in Venice in 1977 and evening walks in Paris in 1982. It’s conquering my fears and trying new things. It’s making mistakes and learning and growing. It’s years of uncertainty, then of clarity, paved roads, rainbows and pots of gold.
It’s making meals out of love not obligation and helping each other up the stairs in the last few years.It’s dancing the night away at Tobi’s wedding and finally holding the grandkids Temi gave us. It’s embracing the sagging and the cellulite and finally agreeing that we’re old!
“Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen” Mark Twain once wrote. He does make a valid point, doesn’t he? I’d like to say though, that looking back over the years, and right here, right now, I’m glad that’s not the way life works; for I’m grateful for every step in this journey. I wouldn’t change a thing if I could. I’m thankful that I got to spend a lifetime with you, mistakes and all.
So yes, I love being home and everyday for the rest of my life I wanna be home with you. For home’s where I can undress and be real, vulnerable, happily so; naked and unashamed. You’ve peeled back the layers and fallen in love with each piece of me and when I began to wonder what was left to love, you showed me that your love for me is beyond who I am.
There’s a sound I love to wake up to every morning. A soft purr that serves as a gentle reminder that a new day is upon us…
Today, I wake up to 50 years worth of familiarity of our banter, the comfort of your voice, and a sense of belonging to someone when you call me by my name. For only you calls me so, only you know me so.
So these are not so much renewed vows as they are memories and a toast to our union, and all the love that has brought us this far. Although at our age it’s hard to imagine, may the rest of our lives include the best years of our lives.
I love you Rotimi Ade-Williams,
forever and a day more.