You don’t get to choose when you stumble into love. If I could have, I might have chosen to wear something other than a bright blue mud mask although, in retrospect, I believe it might have brought out the blue in my eyes. Or at least that is what I told myself to help assuage the mortification that was unique to my overly-introspective seventeen-year-old-self.
Even with the blue mud mask, he still went home and told his mother that he met the woman he was going to marry. I like to believe that this comment speaks more to the romantic nature of my husband than for any strange mud-mask fetish he may harbor. Yes, he was a romantic soul, that one. Still is…just buried a bit deeper now. Time does that. Once the rosy haze of youth passes, the Real World starts to seep in. Sweet nothings are replaced by To Do Lists, and Date Night becomes something that happens once a month rather than quarter-monthly. Dirty diapers replace dirty talk. You find solace where you can.
I found solace in books and television. Whenever Life sucker punched me (as the bitch is wont to do), I retreated into fiction until I felt steady again. I can tell you exactly where I was in my life by what sustained me.
During my “OMG I Have Three Toddlers and I Think They Stole My Soul” period, I found Harry Potter. Molly Weasley reminded me that it was okay to lose my cool, that I always wanted to learn to knit, and that friends are there to help. While I can still knit no more than a scarf, I have amassed a lovely collection of now Totally-Recognizable-As-Scarves knitwear, and also more than a few friends that also love the books.
While not a book, I will admit to binge watching all of Doctors 9 and 10 while my husband was away at CLEET training. While Hubs was away learning to be a cop, I (with a little help from the Doctor) taught my kids that nerdy glasses are cool and that libraries contain the best weapons of all. Books. Books are my weapon against fear, and doubt, and loneliness.
During Hub’s heart attack*, I used my battered copy of Outlander as my shield…my targe. So it was no surprise when the odd bit of text floated up when I struggled with sleep. “Don’t be afraid. There’s the two of us now.” With this offering, I felt a sense of immediate panic. Because, perhaps for the first time, I realized–truly realized–that at some point it was very likely that there would NOT be two of us. Life is scary like that. It is full of car wrecks, and tornadoes, and accidents and, yes, heart attacks. The thought took my breath away. The idea of being without him was terrifying. Alone had never felt so, well…alone. I wanted to wake up Hubs, to convince myself that he was still here, still next to me, that there was still two of us. Maybe I would have, but he gave a small snore and saved me the trouble.
Still, I stayed awake. I listened to him breath and thought about the uncertainty of it all…a whole life built on a foundation of our mortality; quite an unsteadying thought. Yet he is the only foundation I’ve got.
I cannot slip through stones like in Outlander. But I can open the pages of a book and slip inside, just for a while. I can hide among the words until my world steadies, and my head clears.