Sunday, December 5, 2010

birthday speech, not spoken aloud

I'm just out of the bath, sick today. I curl up in their bed. Suddenly my breath is all I can hear, whooshing in my ears. I tingle all over, feeling wrong, wrong, wrong. Then I'm against his chest and he carries me to the car and I'm still sick but I know I'm safe.

School musical. Christmas play. It's dark outside and I'm lined up with my class. I see him standing in the back, still in his brown work shirt. Here. Yes, here.

We're in church. I'm kneeling next to him, aware of what is going on in front but focused on what he's doing. His hands are folded, his head is bowed. This is important. Not because of what's going on up there, but because of what is going on in there. I close my eyes, too.

I'm home too late. I peek into their room and they're both looking at me. Waiting. I get the talk. He says something about trains rolling down hills can be difficult to stop. I nod. Swear we just fell asleep. {no lie}. It's too dark for them to see me roll my eyes. But I heard him.

I'm in the back of church this time, dressed in white. A Very Big Day. I watch him escort his mother to her seat before he comes back to take my arm. He is literally a beacon of pride.

I stand like a guard by his side as he hugs so many relatives. Accepts condolences. His brother was a good man. Best friend. I am silent, a witness to his grief and pain and loss. But still he shines. Not invincible, no.  Human. This I finally understand.

There aren't enough seats for everyone. We all have butterflies, waiting. He finally walks into the room. I see surprise and recognition register on his face as we all break out in a happy birthday chorus. Friends and family from near and far. So many long embraces. They pass the microphone and tell stories from then and now. I hear over and over what a great man he is. I know. I know. He carried me. He taught me. Still does. Still does.

He says he's the luckiest man alive. But I am the lucky one. He gives so much to me.