“Thank you,” he says as we walk toward the hospital entrance. The thank you that covers it all. Thank you for driving me. For coming in with me For being there.
“But you’d do it for me,” I say, and he agrees.
Not so long ago I said to him, “This is the deal. We’ll take care of each other as long as we can.” He agreed.
Protect yourself and those around you…
We’re on hospital time now, in a waiting room and there’s a sign taped to the chair between us for social distancing. I think about what occupies that chair. The distance between us. All the things we wouldn’t say. Couldn’t say. The questions we never asked each other. Were we afraid of the answers? Or did we already know?
Is it love? Or just something that looks like bits and pieces of love? Compassion. Respect. Loyalty.
Taking temperatures. Buying juice. Making soup. Doling out Tylenol.
Forty years of anniversaries that commemorate the last time we thought we knew what we were getting into.
After all the arguments and tears, the moments of joy and ones of despair, all the times one of us thought “I want out of this,” we remember we agreed to be life partners. We weren’t guaranteed anything else. On the days we got more, we count ourselves blessed.
It’s just a chair. A two-foot distance if that. A symbol for the space between us, the lines neither of us will ever cross.