We sat in the middle of a lush green field on a set of white chairs with a table to match. As far as the eye could see, we were surrounded by the green tundra. The sun shone brightly mingling with the clear blue sky, its rays exploring the world wherever it touched. We sat drinking tea and the table was littered with all types of delicious sweets ranging from cakes to cookies.
She took a sip of her hot cup of tea and began speaking. Her movements were vaguely familiar to me. I could not quite place it. She told me that he loved her so much. He loved her so hard. He loved her in a way that no one else could. She was confident that the way he loved her was rare; it only came once in a lifetime. They had met in high school, years ago. They sat in the back of their calculus class together. He kept his head lowered mostly and occasionally when the teacher felt it necessary to pick on him, he would look up with one raised eyebrow as though to say,
“You really thought it was appropriate to bug me? I was busy dozing away in my day dreams, which are infinitely superior to your mindless bullshit…”
She was captivated by his nonchalance, she told me. Her hair which were surely at one point, the color of a raven, was. slithered with silver. It shone with the sunlight hitting her, giving her a slight glow. As I watched her, the feeling of familiarity grew ever stronger. She kept speaking. She told me not to get it twisted. He wasn’t like the kids out there who could care less about filling their heads with knowledge. She told me that he always had a book tucked away close by and was always reading. He questioned everything. Everyone that crossed paths with him. He just wasn’t any good with structure. He made his own rules. She loved that about him.
She told me that she loved everything about him. I asked her how long they had been together. She said it would be 48 years this year. There was no one else for her. He completed her. I was pleasantly surprised. It is so rare to hear someone talk so lovingly about their significant other after they’ve been with someone for years. She had a love struck look on her face. She talked about him with the same fervor as a teenage girl would about her first love. The luster in her eyes when she spoke about him was more telling than the lull in her voice when she spoke his name. Her voice sunk into my mind, the realization of who she was finally hitting me.
I put her identity to the side and became desperate to hear more. So, I asked her a question that has been heavy on my mind as of late. I had been reading about it, I had been going place to place, talking to different people, hoping against hope someone could make it make sense to me. How can she keep loving him after so many years? See in my mind, it seemed impossible to love only one person for one’s entire life. There were so many people out there in the world, how could she have known so young that he was the one for her?
She looked me intently, watching me, knowing me.
She said, “Silly, you were always busy looking and searching for answers when they were right in front of you. This isn’t a type of thing that you find written in books, though many have tried, or places you travel, though many have tried that as well. This is within you. You know when someone speaks to your heart, your soul. I love him and he loves me and it’s really as simple as that. But, here’s the thing. Love is not consistent. You actively choose to love someone each and every day. There are days when we feel disconnected from each other. We fight. And disagree. But then we come together, because a life apart for us is no life at all. We work each and every day to respect one another. To commit to each other again and again every day. To remain loyal to one another. After that comes love. This thing did not happen over night. This is a lifelong commitment to each other. We choose each other every day.”
Then she is quiet as she takes one last sip. Her eyes are dancing with a quiet mirth. She knows this is something I’m not ready to understand quite yet. She holds out her hand to me, her age showing in the lines and wrinkles that have formed over the passing of year, similar to those on her face. Life had not been easy to her, but she managed to find love even amongst all the ups and downs. I reach out with my much younger hand and take a hold of hers and I looked into her eyes…..into my own eyes. A perfect reflection, the biggest difference being that hers were marked with the passing of time. There were laugh lines around her eyes, as though she had come to understand that along with love, laughter too was not a consistent part of life’s process, but understood the value of it. Now her eyes crinkled as her lips smiled at me. She was me. I had a lot of growing up to do. I had a lot to learn. I had to understand that there were great and beautiful things ahead of me, but I had to take it one day at a time.
She gave my hand a squeeze and gets up. I get up. She looks off to the right and there stands a figure waving to her. She smiles so big. Love in her eyes. She turns to me and says,
“Stop searching. Love is in you and one day it will come together. I’m here, because you’re there going through everything that you are. You will get here one day. Stop fighting love. You will bring us here. To him. In the meantime, live your dream, speak your words, empower the people, but more importantly, empower yourself above all else. Never lose sight of your dreams. You’re making a ripple that’s going to reach millions of worlds.”
With that she turns and walks away. I watch myself walk away. I take a deep breath and close my eyes. The world plunges into darkness. I open my eyes and I am lying in my bed and sunlight is creeping in through the window, gently caressing my face. It is morning. Oh, what a lovely dream.