If we knew then, on this bridge in that small sun shower, what was to come, what would we have whispered to one another? How tightly would we have held, would we have left it at all? Would we have walked into that old hotel arm in arm, hands still fastened together, and declared it home? Would we have stayed, told ourselves we would not move until the storm has passed, the real storm building quietly over the horizon line, just out of sight? Three years have come, and three have gone, and last night once again, we tied ourselves together. Four times now we’ve said those words, four times we’ve stood and stared into each other and promised, long since the first, short since the last, but always, always we have loved.
I know this now, though I knew it then, though I knew it before then too, in that timeless place that is carved out of the universe when two sets of eyes made to find one another actually do. The black hole of time and space that pulls all things in like gravity, even us. Even light.
This an anniversary four days passed, this the fourth time knots were tied around hands tattooed with ancient protections. October 12th we said the first words, and somehow without a whisper of warning, the winds of the storms we never saw coming picked up and carried three years away with them. So much time has passed, so many minutes and moments, years and yearnings, so much life. That day in that glen with those mountains hovering around us like guardians, that rainbow moments after the sound of bagpipes softened and I kissed your hand, cold from the Autumn chill, three years gone now. The rainfall that fell on the shoulders of that jacket has dried, but the salt from that sea remains. We, remain.
Here’s to you, wife, lover, friend. Here’s to the endurance over these trying times, the test we never expected in our first years as one thing, officially. Here’s to you, for the grace and patience, the strength and courage, that rises off of you like steam when you step from shower on cold night, when you lift your weary skin from bath. Should I combine letters in brand new ways, fabricate words uninvented for the love you’ve given, for the appreciation of that love that acts like piston and keeps my heart pumping? What do I say, what do I write, to say thank you for the love you give me, to sum up these years, three and still building?
I will speak of love and call it lasting. We stood in heather and moss and made promises, and while we did not know the trials to come, we knew they would be kept. We knew, when we shouted words over wind gusts, that we could not be broken by all that breaks, that what would come would go, and in the middle we’d stay. We, the stone in the river wild, unmoving and still, as all rushes around us. I would not have believed time would move so swiftly in that water, that it’d try so hard to erode us so soon, try to break us and start us rolling, but life is that muddy middle between all we think we know, and all we never could imagine. Love, is the calm wait for the waters to once again clear.
Three years in a half blink, three years in a syllable, though we call our love novel, call it anthology. I say happy anniversary, I say thank you, I say I promise again, my wrists still carrying the indentations of the fabric we tied. Long since we promised, as a haiku says, short since we promised again, but always have we loved. Loved since before, loved in the center, and love until the end. Until the stone of us is pebble, and the racing waters of time are victorious once again. Still, there, and the end of all things, we’ll be small as sand but still together, rolling along the wet floor of the earth, back home to the sea.
Long since we promised,
short since we promised again.
Always we have loved.