He thought it best, he said, to help take his mama to the doctor because he might have to carry her down (and back up) the porch steps. In the end, he turned the chair backwards and wheeled her down, and careful as he was, she hollered so loudly at the little bumps that the neighbor came running. She's not one to holler, so we were every one shaken and out of sorts. I fetched one of her pillows from inside, and we built up the passenger seat of her car and helped her get settled, collapsed the wheelchair and put it in the trunk.
I tell you these things to give you context for Jim's and my night and (almost) two days away, and I don't know how one enters wholeheartedly a getaway when there's no getting away: no getting away from the tick-tock of limited time on the clock, no getting away from the concern, responsibility, helplessness, grief. None of my any of that touches his, but I'm not unaffected, and seeing as how it was my first night away from the baby, I was a nut bar for a whole different set of reasons that confound me to just about the same extent as Genesis 3:16b's being fulfilled through me.
But anyway, napping was at the top of my list of things to do during our getaway, as was lovemaking, shopping (mostly thrift), eating good food, and drinking beer. His list was similar to mine (subtract drinking beer, add playing arcade games, and understand that "good food," to Jim, doesn't automatically mean "gourmet cupcake" like it does to me).
At the last minute, I added an item to my list: riding The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. The Wheel--which travels 200 feet up in the air--is an attraction at The Island, a new retail and entertainment center in Pigeon Forge. We were promised three full rotations and got five. I thought Jim was going to hurl. "That was one time in the history of the world," he said, "that I would've been alright with someone's shortchanging me." So The Wheel wasn't exactly a romantic experience, but I loved it, anyhow.
It ends up being analogous to this life Jim and I are living together; I mean, I remember full well how I'd romanticized it, and it ain't that. It's mostly just two people working their hind ends off for a house full of (very demanding) kids. We get a day or two away, and we're so exhausted as to flop into the hotel-room bed and fall asleep (within minutes!) smack-dab in the middle of the day. I cry periodically, during our getaway, and gnaw my fingernails to the quick. And every single time we make a pit stop, he has to remind me: we can go inside together; no one needs to stay in the vehicle with the kids.
It's not what I'd doe-eyed dreamed, but I love him. My desire is for him. I permit him to rule over me. (That last bit blows my mind.) And--when I take his hand across the table at breakfast and ask: "Do you regret me?"--he shakes his head and looks at me in that seven-years-ago way that seems much further back.
"I don't regret you," he says. "I still remember. I still remember how I begged God to let me have you."
|See my reflection in this one?|