You are thankful for your role-models – the real, imperfect, unconventional, wise, loving mottley crew that have been about, your entire life. You have not lived one single day in the absence of someone worth watching.
The world is crazy and you often feel out-of-place. It rushes you and pressurises you. It makes you want to rant, or hide, or puke. Sometimes it just makes you think there is no other option. But there is always a wise perspective, somewhere.
You fell in love over conversation. Conversation that kept you up late and that resumed every single evening. Conversation in your favourite pub, and in the coffee shop near the bus stop, and on the steps and under that big tree on the corner- the one you both salute every time you’re in Belfast.
It seems like your love story is here, contained in these few streets in Belfast. It’s a beautiful story, you think, and you will probably bore your children with it every time you pass this road. They won’t think much of the footpath, or the gate or the lane that is steeped in your nostalgia, so you’ll try a bit harder.
You’ll tell them that your love story is also far-flung and exotic, that it travelled the world. You took your conversation to quirky youth hostels and beautiful corners of the earth – to hippy communes and camp fires, to South African mountains and New Zealand glaciers, to a grass hut in Samoa and a dive bar in Washington.
You fell in love over conversation, but there isn’t time for conversation these days (not since that very long one, over a bottle of wine, when you decided to have a baby).
You resent the conversations that keep you up late – the ones about new cars and bank accounts and upcoming Events. You are forever trying to claw back some time for yourself. You no longer linger over tea and toast on the sofa, you wolf it down for an extra few minutes sleep.
These are still days of Story, yes. You feel fondly about them in your tired haze, you feel warmly about this life you are creating. These are the days of Family, and you are thankful, and isn’t he an amazing dad? There are stories you are already starting to tell and nostalgia already starting to form.
You think that this is all good. (enough). This is what love looks like these days. And maybe it is.
You read a thing about Laundry and Love Stories and you wonder when you started to think of your Love Story in past tense? When you shortened it to Story?
There is no little French restaurant in your small town serving mussels in white wine, and your high heels make your knees hurt, but you get the point. You fell in love over Conversation. It is the thing that makes you most alive, and happy, but you’ve been trading it in these days for decisions made and boxes ticked. You’ve been trying to make space for it, by getting everything done first. But everything is NEVER done, and if it was, you suspect you’d have an early night.
Throughout your life you always stop at some point in each season or situation… and wonder about what you’re doing and how you’re living. Is this how it should be? Is there another way? Are you not paying attention to something? Or sometimes, a wise voice stops you, with something you hadn’t even thought of.
You are thankful for the people worth watching, and listening to, and reading. Your mottley crew have always given you perspective, and a different way to do things. They are responsible for the good and the meaning you find in the everyday, and in this season. They are the ones who made you a reader in the first place, and who bent your mind toward a certain way of thinking. They are the ones who taught you to pay attention, and to mull over, for a day or two after.
So you read this thing that says “we’re living a love story, not running a small business together” and you realise how often you trade in the best thing, for all the other things. It may not be mussels and high heels for you two, but maybe it will beer and nachos, maybe you’ll organise that night away.
You fell in love over conversation. You sat every single evening and took it in turns to recount the mundane details of your day. You have always known this is one of the practices of a marriage worth watching. Maybe there will be beer and nachos, maybe a night away, but you think you’ll start by asking about his day.