Grab a fleece and meet me downstairs, I whispered to Al as I brushed past him outside Bean’s room Saturday evening.
We’d finished up the bedtime routine with both kids a little bit early, and I’d already surreptitiously poured us each a glass of wine, lit a few candles, and collected a warm, snuggly comforter from the basement and lay them, waiting, near the glass door to the back porch.
I drank in the thrilled expression that spread across his face, and as I watched him walk happily off to do as I’d instructed, a tell-tale bounce in his step, I felt the burden of the past weeks slip easily off our shoulders.
Minutes later, we snuck out the back door onto our patio and into the cool night air, Al carried our glasses and his iPod, and I followed behind with candles and blanket. We quietly arranged two chairs side by side, touching, Like a sofa, I smiled at him. We settled cozily in together. He flickered and clicked briefly at the iPod and out spilled a favorite song – an Al and Megan song. We leaned back into our chairs with twin sighs, sipped our drinks, grinned secret, pleased grins at one another. His hand found mine.
The sun bowed out gracefully, and we talked slowly and softly, laughing and nodding, our eyes catching each others’ gently, the two of us at ease together at last. There’d been no altercation, no crashing disagreement, just a slowly-tightening resentment borne of too many hours apart, too many days gone by with children and jobs and life, but without a moment like this to savor together.
Without our togetherness.
We lay our heads back, one against the other, and looked into the sky as dusk faded to night. A gentle breeze brushed a lacy veil of lavender, grey and soft blue clouds from the face of a shyly glowing moon. We watched deeply, listened to the leaves rustle, sunk lower into the cushions of our chairs and gathered the comforter closer around us. The music carried our thoughts away and we dreamed new dreams quietly with one another, a few words, a plan, the future.
Later, inside again, he’d pull me close as I put away the last of the day’s dishes and say, simply, Thank you for tonight. I love you. You’re my best friend.
And I am me again with him, and he is him.
And we just are.