Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chocolate Scones

I am wearing a sundress and there are chocolate scones in the oven.

The Pilot will text me in a little while, alphabet flung into the land of satellites to reassemble magically on my phone, and have me come pick him up, since the motorcycle didn't cooperate earlier today.

He is home.

My heart scurried like a rabbit as I watched him come through the gate into the tiny airport waiting room; I spotted him before he spotted me and admired how his hair had grown and how breezily good-looking he was. He didn't feel like my husband, not quite. It was months since the last re-enactment of the welcoming scene between us, and back then I was usually the lead player, the traveler returning (except I never knew whether I was going or returning, when I visited him in pilot training). But I recalled the fleeting sensation of knowing and yet not-knowing. It would happen early on in our relationship, this breathless, dancing little friction between us, anticipatory, like the minute before the first firework explodes, the feel of reacquainting ourselves with being together. I felt it again, except this time he was my husband, not my boyfriend or fiance.

We would sometimes speak, in the long phone conversations, as I lay on my bed and hunted down his voice with the desperation of missing him, how being in the Air Force, being obliged to be separate on regular occasions, might be good for us and our marriage. It is not simply an "absence makes the heart grow fonder" sort of mantra brought to flesh; rather the separation teaches the heart what it is missing and what ought not to be taken for granted, and those first faltering hoping moments of reunion teaches the soul that the beloved's soul is just as real and yet other, an almost unknown landscape with great vistas still to be explored. It is far too easy, in the daily swing of routine, to take each other for granted, and, to borrow a phrase from an article I read in this month's Poets and Writers, to adopt the idea that "everyone else's existence only supplement{s} my own." As I watched the Pilot walk toward me, I'm home grin on his face, my heart trembled in the knowledge that here was mystery embodied, coming to embrace me, the intricate world of another person whom I was taking home with me.

Perhaps one of the foundations of love is curiosity.

I have often read and been told that only until after you are married do you begin to realize how little you know this mystery you have partnered your life with, and in that reunion moment I realized it was true, and I smiled. You face the unknown with fear, or with excitement, joy. Does a cook try a new recipe because she is afraid of it? I baked chocolate scones because I love baking and because I have never had chocolate scones before and I want to know what they are like. A humble, domestic analogy– you may substitute chocolate scones with writing, or a piece of piano music, or anything you like, but how much more should my burning desire to know be extended to the infinitely complex human being who kisses me goodbye in the morning and falls asleep beside me at night? To be a lover is to be the explorer of the wilderness of another human heart. If love doesn't hold a certain measure of curiosity, won't we all end up taking each other for granted?

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