A Portrait of Marriage in Pastel

Sometimes when I can’t get words out, I close my eyes. It doesn’t make much sense, of course. My words were never visual.

Maybe it’s the direct connection from my thought process to my fingertips. Like a conversation, I can’t take back my words or hardly remember what my last sentence was. Like Snapchat.

It’s an interesting thing, that. Snapchat chat. Texting like a conversation. It doesn’t seem to work out that way, of course. I still forget and I don’t have the eye contact or the same breath of air to keep me connected. I can read and forget and never respond and there is no consequence.

When I said I loved you, it was just what I meant. So when you ask me: Where was I when? Every time, I was right by your side.

What great lyrics. Thanks James Morrison. Hits me each time I listen. What a beautiful love song. What an image of love I never really think about. The idea of love that you’re building up to and looking back on. The kind of love that makes a stable trust through years and years. That skepticism and doubt can’t shake because you know and he knows or she knows or they know that you were there. No question of separation. Maybe that’s the hardest part of love. To be present in someone else’s life no matter what. To live with space, but never too much to fall away. I wonder if that balance has ever been struck. I wonder if that’s what I’m going to want.

Today, I think I want to get married. I don’t know if that sentiment will last forever. I don’t know if I’ll always want to take part in an archaic construction like marriage. I don’t know if I’ll start to disagree with those traditions and labels. But today I nurture a little image of little Robiny in a white dress that fits just right and a person waiting for me and smiling at me and holding my hand for a long long time.

Here’s the marriage I’ve got on my mind:

Lydia woke up late this morning. She forgot to set the alarm and slept right through the cycling class. She’ll have to text Sarah to apologize for not being there to grab breakfast afterward. She rolls to her left and places her palm on Greg’s warm back. Stirring, he smiles over his shoulder. “You’re still here.”

Yellow light arches through white curtains and lands on pale blue blankets and his soft olive shirt. She slips out of the sheets and enters her pastel world. Her feet are cold on the hardwood floor as she pads to the kitchen. She pulls out two clay mugs from the dishwasher and places them on the granite countertop.

The sound of grinding coffee beans were enough to get Greg out of bed. He runs his hands through too much hair as he walks through the doorframe. He ducks into the closet for a scoop of dog food, which he pours into a bowl Abigail glazed 20 years ago.

A golden retriever pushes past, hungry for her breakfast.

Greg pulls up a stool and watches Lydia steaming milk.

“I forgot to set my alarm again.”

“We’re gonna have to buy a rooster for you. Want to go for a bike later on then?”

She turns around, her metal cup holding the perfect ratio of froth and milk. “I could do that.” And they look at each other. Right in the eyes.

She pours the milk over two espresso shots each, a little more froth for her, a little more milk for him, and sits across from him.

They sip in silence, each treasuring the caffeine entering their bloodstream.

“Want toast?” He leaves his seat to grab the loaf from the woven basket by the sink.

“Sure—thanks. Is that the bread you got at the new place by Richard’s?”

“Yeah— Not as good as they made it seem, but it should be fine toasted.”

“Way to sell it!”

“I’ll tell you what. How ‘bout we make it French?”

Her hands leave her mug and she moves to the refrigerator. “Good idea. I wanna get rid of some of these eggs.”

She cracks and whips, he sparks the burner and warms the skillet.

“How’d the debate go last night?”

A childish grin spreads from his crow’s feet to his teeth. “I wish you were there to watch with me. It was hilarious. Trump just keeps getting crazier.”

With big eyes and a mocking seriousness, “Greg, it’s making me nervous. What if he wins??”

“It can’t happen! But if it does it’ll be hilarious.”

“Let’s move to Canada!”

Greg lets the toast sizzle on the skillet and wraps his arms around Lydia, looking off through the window in playful romanticism. “Too cold. Let’s go back to London.”

“Too far from Abby and Connor. Mexico?”

“Not with your Spanish. Or lack of melanin.” He looks down into her green smiling eyes. “What about Russia?”

“Fine. If Trump wins, we move back to London.” She pecks his cheek, wiggles out of his arms, and reaches for their coffees. “But I’m picking the apartment.”

In a messy kitchen in August, French toast burns, a golden retriever asks a hand for a scratch, unfinished books accumulate creases and coffee stains, Stephanie texts back, and the world keeps turning gently and slowly and forever.


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