I could barely sleep last night through the storm, wind so fierce we held our breaths in anticipation of the Monterey Pine outside our window cracking open, roots broken free of rocky earth. Between storm fits I lay wide awake, dutifully re-organizing things I had already done, loops of repetitive thought punctuated by brain-spittling bits of songs and flashes of scenes, an endless film reel created by a snip happy editor jumping here and there with no regard for story line. The mind more powerful even than the storm that raged outside. In a single stroke I lost grip of my treasured lifejackets (remember, deep breathing, mindfulness?) as if they were paper airplanes.
The mind, that dirty pirate, ignored any of my pleas for civility, a reverse of course or a light for the SOS flares. Hold strong, it roared, let the movie play on, don’t stop now, it’s finally getting interesting. We’re about to get to the part where a plane crashes or the skylight blows off the roof to let the storm in. The pirate of my mind rides the tsunami of this endless night, holding on to his battered ship exclaiming, “The show must go on!”
In the morning, stillness. Both the pirate and the mighty winds timidly afraid of the warming sun. Pale light reveals traces of the night’s destruction limp on the wet earth. I’ve got to get up, survey the damage and then go out into the day. It’s love’s day today! This year for Valentine’s we have decided to have a living room picnic in front of the fire place. As soon as Nick leaves for work I begin to set up the scene, a colorful blanket spread out on the hardwood floor, pillows and wine glasses. I’m feeling so pleased with myself when from the corner of my eye I see that damned pirate lurking around the corner. He’s feeding me thoughts to dissuade me from seeing all the love and light. Frothing at the mouth he stoops to remind me (why today?): the hardest thing about losing a parent like I did at a young age is that you so easily see love as loss waiting to happen.
Nick walks in the door at 5pm and we open the wine straight away. From the look on his face I can see he was even more pleased with my set up than I expected. We created the living room picnic one winter in our old house when we had had enough of weather’s hand forcing us indoors. Now, on the heels of the unsteadiness from last night’s storm, this ritual of eating on the floor is seeming to ground us, the change in perspective inviting a fresh liveliness to our conversation. These are the tricks, I note to myself, that I must remember for when we are middle aged and bored of each other.
The warmth from the fire ignites each golden red hair of his evening shadow, setting his face aglow. Our eyes relax around their corners and affix to the love that hangs in the small space between us, our old house guest who has returned, we hope, for a good long while. She is so gentle as she fills the gaps and mends the holes, so quiet we are aware only of the tingling of the hairs on the tops of our cheeks. In that nano second before our lips come together my mind throws up one final spark, a desperate call from the pirate’s boat as it sinks below the cold water, at least for now. At least for tonight.