She gives up. Teri had tossed and turned for what seems like hours. She swings her legs off the side of the bed and makes her way to the kitchen. A cup of tea might soothe her. Their earlier conversation swirls in her mind. Of course, he is now sleeping peacefully, oblivious to the thoughts racing in her mind. What was she thinking, to even ask that?
His reply had startled her. “How else would I be?”
How else indeed. And she told him. “Well, I suppose you could be selfish and disinterested, self-absorbed and uncaring, patronizing and critical, defensive and indignant. I suppose your words could be hollow with no deeds to follow.”
Teri sees him then, his eyes narrowing, brow furrowed… She pushed on.
“Not just doting but D-O-T-I-N-G. It has to be huge, so obvious…”
Teri knew it was a dumb question, and she knew it as soon as she asked it. But as usual, she wasn’t going to back down, she rarely did.
She raised her eyebrows, tilted up her chin and waited…for his response. Nothing.
Instead he gave her a look of disbelief, then something flickered in his eyes and his lips curved up accompanied by a shake of his head.
“You have issues.”
“Well, I do have issues. Now how about you take me seriously?”
“As I said before, how else would I be?” he said softly.
Teri remembers thinking, weighing if she should backtrack then, and make a joke of it… but she ought to trust her gut instinct, she had told herself.
She had after all believed herself to be over Daryl, who left her battered and bruised, psychologically. He certainly wasn’t what she’d considered “doting”.
The question had left her mouth before she even had time to consider it. A confirmation she had needed to hear from him, to reinforce that this time her decision was the right one. An odd question for a woman many see as confident and self-assured. A Mexican stand-off if there ever was one.
Now as she paces in the kitchen, her hands enveloping the cup of tea, its warmth calms her a little. What troubles her is not the question, but her need for the answer. And how the question was asked.
Yeah, why wouldn’t he be a doting husband? What signs does one need for love? What proof before one commits? What degree of certainty before one trusts?
Disappointment and loss are part of life, there is no avoiding them. Will she choose to see the positives? The vulnerability of the human heart longing to believe in love and honesty, does she have the strength to be so?
Pondering these questions will drive her insane, Teri knows this. Too much referencing the past and preempting the future.
Standing by the sink, washing the cup, Teri recognizes the significance of this moment, her smile reflects from the windows before her. She resolves to wash away her negative expectations. Her soul needs to accept gracefully his gifts of care and affection. It needs to allow for new and different experiences of love to flow. She is worthy, and this does not require constant assessment and validation.
She has to sit with her sadness of what has been lost and gently let it go. And he will be here for her, in his quiet and steady countenance. His kindness and devotion a balm to an healing heart.
So she must reconcile with a new norm – that loving relationships are affectionate and doting. The ways may differ and those are the sparkling surprises, they are what she will be mindful and present to receive.
For inspite the wreckage, her heart still recognize love as pure light, a delightful joy and an unwavering commitment.
Teri curls her body into his and his murmured “mhmm”, as arms envelop her.
© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.