“For last years words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice”
- TS Elliot
The way he looks at her when we’re talking ABOUT her. The way that he describes his often broken past, the triumphs and shortfalls, his kids, his desire to be in Mexico RIGHT NOW, his unabashed and abrasive political beliefs….they all don’t light up that face as when he talks about his Sheila. You don’t know the details, and neither do I, and they are none of our business, but he’ll tell you she rescued him. He’ll tell you she’s the very best thing that’s ever happened to him. He’ll cackle and giggle and make you feel like you’re in on an inside joke between you two, and he’ll describe in vivid detail how he loves “his Sheila” more with each passing day.
And for her part, she’ll be across the gym, watching him describe her and them and their adventures, and her head involuntarily tilts back with laughter and a smile so warm. She knows her Darrell is spinning a yarn, she knows he’s holding court in front of friends and strangers and there might be bourbon in the tale, or a golf cart chase or odd antics in the Mexican desert, but there will never be a doubt when he turns the page and talks about her. Reverence. Respect. A love that transcends the troubles and miles of a lifetime lived.
SO, it’s been three months since the last essay. Consider it a summer vacation from pouring out my soul & mind onto a screen. And like summer vacations of old, there has been much growth over that time. I’m no taller, maybe a little wider, but with many more chapters lived. A forlorn heart fuels a creative spark, but man, the toll is so great. A calm mind might not be as creative but is easier to manage. There have been adventures near and far, and all that stuff that makes the pessimist roll his or her eyes, and to bore you with the minutiae that has filled my heart is not on the agenda. But whether wearing a suit or a swimsuit, building pergolas or bridges between us, floating down a river or passionately arguing about the nonsensical, there is the one who has filled those moments to the brim. And that’s what we truly want, isn’t it? Someone who can fire up your mind and your senses, the one who holds the keys to your soul’s deepest corners.
It’s not always easy, and yet there’s never a moment in my mind when I think that it is not worth it. Condemnation from some, skeptical eyebrows arched from others, and all the while, my heart grins madly. Doesn’t mean frustration doesn’t rear up, it just means that the notion of giving up doesn’t. Sometimes it takes an oversize gesture to shout loudly how much you care; sometimes it’s in the quietest of sweet moments, when one hand reaches across to the other, grabbing it confidently, gently, assuring the other that you’re right where you need to be, right now. This is the person who inspires you, your greatest passion and deepest drive to give. This is where your heart belongs, right now, and really, always.
And perhaps one day, with more wrinkles and miles, it will be me telling those kids somewhere that that person right over there, her, with the infectious smile and beautifully dancing eyes, SHE is the one who makes my soul sing and lights the fires that fuel my heart. Everyone needs their Sheila. And she needs her Darrell in equal measure, no matter how long it takes to finally find him.