I love watching Howard talk and listening to him tell stories. He went to a convention recently and, when he returned home, we stood together in the kitchen while he told me of things that happened while he was gone. I watched his face and the gestures he uses to emphasize points or to make a joke have more impact. Howard in full-out mode is larger than his physical form. It is like he projects himself out into space. I saw all of that and realized, once again, why people are so happy to listen to him in presentations, on panels, or during podcasts. Howard is compelling. I had that thought, and on its heels was a feeling of deep gratefulness that when all the show, presentation, and signing is done, Howard comes home to me. I think that’s a good sign twenty-one years into marriage, that I’m glad to have him come home.
We went out to dinner for our anniversary. we don’t always. In fact our anniversary traditions have had more to do with forgetting to plan anything. Some years we’ve missed it altogether. This year we felt like we ought to do something, so we went to Bombay House and ordered our favorites from the menu. Howard was having a low energy, low mood day. We sat across the table from each other, mostly in silence. I am one of the few that gets to see Howard when he’s low. He trusts me with this, and I help him carry it, just as he helps me when my emotions get unruly. I had a hundred things in my head that we could have talked about, but many of them were related to business, which wasn’t ideal for his mood. Also, I didn’t really want to turn our out-to-dinner date into a business meeting. We have plenty of those at home in the kitchen. Twice or thrice daily, in fact.
“Are you still glad?” I asked Howard during one of the quiet times when our eyes met. He knew what I meant, on that day, on that date. Are you glad we got married? It was a question to which we both already knew the answer, but somehow the asking and the answering gave a tiny ceremony to a part of our lives that we often take for granted. “Yes.” He answered. Even on a low-mood day, we are both still glad.
A mere day later, Howard and I drove together to Salt Lake City to visit a friend from out of town. We talked quietly, about business, about things we saw on the road, about our kids. Howard was not in performance mode. We sat with our friend for hours talking about all sorts of things. We ate more food than we needed, but all of it was delicious. When time came to depart, Howard and I drove home together, mostly in silence. Sometimes there isn’t much that needs to be said, it is enough to be together.
Yes, I’m still glad.