I pause to take him in. A steady gaze at his face [always] makes me think.
This would be another life, and mine another heart, had I never taken the chance he offered nearly a decade ago - had I not finally just inhaled courage and walked with him up and over the raw jagged edges of my broken self and onto the canvas where he stroked our simple, solid future with a gentle but firm hand. In soft colors and shapes that pleased and only left my eyes wanting more, never jarring or tainting with too-bold, over-promising saturation or stark lines I felt could lock me in or shut me out, he showed me our together-way with his own humble, clean, proven confidence in himself. And in the me I couldn't see or feel myself.
(He has always been the right one, the wise one, solidly sure but eternally patient as I've slowly caught up to hold his hand or look into his kind eyes and just know, with him. The only times I've been all-the-way right are the times I've disagreed but still somewhere known that he wasn't wrong.)
I said No a hundred times, a hundred ways, in a hundred moods. I gave a thousand reasons. Any other man would surely have let my torrent wash him away.
Yet he listened carefully and never shifted, and the tiny thing inside me always uttering faintly, Maybe found its way to the light, saw his thoughts, felt his heart's breath. Up spluttered the spark of the woman I was in his eyes. His faith fueled that spark to a fire of Yes, first to myself, and then to the future and then to us. And I have always felt the permeating warmth from the flames of that Yes, no matter how far from the original fire life has tried to take us.
He was right then, and even when doubts try to smother or dim, I know the woman he recognized and coaxed from inside me. I focus on the image we've made real. We hold his rightness in our joined hands.