Saturday, April 02, 2011

We come into this world naked.  As babes in the garden, new in the world, we walk without clothes with our father by our side.  He's with us in this world, when we are young and before we have any shame.  Then we awaken, sharp with knowledge, and begin hiding ourselves from Him and from each other.  And so it is in the story between man and woman, "the cage that's been handed down the line" as Springsteen says.
Fourteen months in and we have our first fight.  Or quasi-fight, anyways, really it was just kind of sudden sharp annoyance on my part.  A shopping adventure with the children gone awry, I was tense, he said something and I bit his head off.  A few minutes later, I was sweeping up a mess the dog made in our absence, another stress, and he came into the kitchen.  I didn't want to feel the distance between us, so I apologized and gave him a hug.  His body stiffened, and he tried to explain his point of view to me, but I stood firm on mine, and there I was with the sharp words again.  No resolution, and I walked the dustpan out to the garage, dump it, then stand there for a few moments in the driveway, sad, watching the young boys and girls play in the yard across the street.
The girl across the street is coming into sexual maturity, and the boys are flocking around.  J swears she is having sex with at least one of them, but I disagree.  I think she is awfully young, and he reminds me of how early innocence is lost.  But I think she is sweet and I want her to stay a babe forever, close to her family, walk next to her father without any guilt in her heart.  Tonight they are playing Duck Duck Goose, a childrens game, but when it is the boys turn to be chased, they taunt back with some slang words that make me wonder if J was right.
I don't really know who was right or wrong tonight, you could make a case for either side, but after that, we walked carefully and quietly around each other.  "Walk softly and carry a big stick" - what President said that?  I was busy, he was busy, we were doing our own things.  I laid in the bed and waited with a book for him to come to me at the end of the day, only to find him slipping into the covers and off to sleep with nary a word.  Not even our you...arm out to the side...a space next to his heart for my head to lay...touching each other...limb to limb.
I watched him fall asleep for a while and then begin snoring.  I had been comfortable, but now I am somewhat frustrated and can't imagine sleeping.  I go out into the dark night, one, two, three dogs walked in circles around the neighborhood, at first hot and fast, telling my side angrily to the dark night in my mind.  Then I stop feeling justified and hard and start softening, feeling sorry, longing to be close again.  By the third walk, I have worked towards forgiveness and lightness of being again, and shower and then lay down next to him.
He is naked upon the sheets, and my gaze takes in all of him, the wonderfulness of his skin and thigh and bone.  I am all adoring of him still, so long into this and the sight of him fills me with such rapture.  Usually his arm would be flung around me; it is wrapped around a pillow instead and I can't get close, I have no arm to hold me, no shoulder to stroke.  I long for his touch, a sign he still loves me, even when I fail, even when I am not perfect or sweet or fun to be around.
All night it seems I watch him.  I hardly sleep, in tune with his movements, waiting for a chance to get close, to amend the seperation between us.  The chance does not come until very early in the morning, when his alarm goes off for us to get started on our busy day.  He wakes, and I tell him how I missed him so, how I was sad and sorry, how I longed to be close to him last night, the things I wished we would have said last night.  He doesn't say much in response, just holds me in his arms for longer than I expect, stroking my side in affection and comfort.
Later in the day, we are driving, and I tell him about my walk last night.   The stars were twinkling in the dark blue sky, Orion the hunter and his arrow pointing the way, a breeze flowing through the spring air, and people restless in the night.  It was late on a Friday night for action in this sleepy working class neighborhood, but there were men outside cleaning off their grills, sitting in chairs with a beer, or standing near their cars with cigarettes or cell phones, each one flickering a glance over my chest before turning their eye, making me wonder if men were really all we thought they were, or if my bra just wasn't doing the trick last night.  Or perhaps it was doing tricks of its own.  The young girls and boys of the night were restless, traveling in packs, girls giggling in the night, disappearing into parks, boys teasing them from across the street.  And so the dance begins, the dance we find ourselves struggling with, the one that makes us stand before each other with trepidation in the dark, neither one of us knowing what to say to make things right.
Later, I talk to him more about how I felt, so alone and missing him, how I felt cast out, and he says it was just my perception.  "I was there the whole time," he said.  "All that was just inside your mind.  You could have reached over to me at any time."
And then it makes me wonder just how God works,if Adam or Eve had come to talk to him about their banishment, if there was ever an offering of amends or an attempt to make it right.  Or maybe that is what we humans have been trying to do ever since, when really, He is always there, just waiting and loving us the same, no matter how pitifully we fail at being perfect.