We sat here on this wooden bench for the first time on our honeymoon. And then for a second time on vacation a year later. Both times it was snowing, and the crisp touch of cold air always made the tip of your nose glow red.
‘It’s worth it,’ you always said. The sight of the water beginning to freeze over and the white freckles sprinkled across your clothes was always worth your lungs feeling as if they’d turn to ice. You smiled then, with your warm eyes wincing with laughter. It looked like steam escaped past your lips-from through your teeth. Steam tumbled past my teeth too, as my lips seamlessly stretched from ear to ear.
The cold wasn’t all our eyes soaked in from here either. Summer beat us down into the bench as the sun drained our every last drop of energy. The humidity would call in rain clouds, sometimes along with it’s loud friend thunder too. And when those tears fell from the sky and I held your hand as if it was the first time again. All at once, all of our lost energy, stolen by the burning fireball in the sky, had been repaired-returned even-as we darted back to our vacation home. We had fled from our favorite spot, leaving that wooden bench behind to be dampened, beaten, and molded alone.
Once it was silent, and we traded the deepest words that were buried to far down for anyone else to ever dig up. And when I looked at your watery eyes, flushed cheeks, and cascading brown hair, I was remind that was not all there was that I loved about you. And I know you felt the exact same.
Soon the silence was replaced with music. Anything that made your foot tap, teeth show, head nod, and force you to jump up and dance with me. And we’d get to dance there everyday then-since the vacation home was now ours.
Music wasn’t the only happiness we heard in the background of the sights. There were children laughing, running, and developing along with us. We no longer held just each other’s wrinkling hands, but other youthful hands that we created. Those young hands grew quick and grew fast, becoming comparable to ours in size-as well as managed to break a corner off that wooden bench that couldn’t hold us all.
That bench took a beating and witnessed it all, like when our children moved on for adulthood, and I saw her cry her worst sobs she ever had. Her heart throbbed from how many miles separate she’d be from them. Her face began to become distorted-she felt so much. Is it wrong to say even her sobs and heaves didn’t damage how much of a goddess she appeared? I remember when she was finally done crying, I made the mistake of jokingly pointing out her grays sprouting from her head. It was a long night.
The emptiness that filled our daily lives were filled with reconnecting at the bench with our ‘old people music’. We acted as though we were 20 again, and danced until the sun faded down past the horizon. She was glorious, even in age, as she danced and smiled around goofily. As days, weeks, and years seemed to fly out the door, all that was left was to sit on the bench that was somehow still standing there.
We acted as though the whole cycle was repeating, we lovingly held hands and tried desperately to run from that rain, didn’t we? She laughed that distinct sound of hers, as we got soaked by the downpours time after time. But things don’t repeat forever I learned.
I sat again at the wooden bench some time after that, and now again today. I twist my wedding ring around my finger as I look out at the bay and hope to see it freeze over for another year. I bite my lip as her laughter no longer penetrates my eardrums at how ‘serious my face settles’ when I examine all the sights. ‘What must I be thinking so heavily about?’ Maybe, just maybe, over the fact that things can’t repeat forever.