It is possible to put all your hope into something and have that very thing crush your spirit. I had looked forward to a much-needed getaway with my husband and it about severed our relationship. I had envisioned it as bringing us closer together and rekindle a love that was only a dying ember. I chose a place that we would not have taken the boys, Savannah GA.
We wandered the streets and I was enjoying the charm of the ancient city. I could feel my husband’s boredom and I started to lose my confidence over my vacation choice. The vacation that was to bring us closer was actually widening that chasm between us. We treated each other with polite respect and tried to pretend that we were each having a great time. He drifted back to reading work emails and I lost myself in my photography. I searched for interesting things to shoot all the while my husband following diligently with his nose buried in his phone.
Walking the riverfront of the beautiful city, I watched street performers. Some sang like angels, others strummed their guitars and others lined up their works of art to be admired. I wonder if they got up every morning hoping to be discovered. One was getting more attention then the others. His baritone voice rang up to the rooftops and a crowd gathered around. I wonder what the other performers where feeling as this guy was getting all the attention. I wonder what they were feeling as his cup was being filled and theirs remained empty? Or the artist whose line for a self-portrait was long and the other artist could only look on in envy.
As we walked on, I noticed a guy, who looked to be living out of a huge backpack, playing a guitar for his two friends. It appeared that they were resting from their journey. Back to the wind, layered in clothing to fight off the chill coming off the river. A spiral notebook was open in front of him, held by black clips to keep pages from flapping in the wind. He would stop after a few cords to write in the book, birth of a song. His sweet music washed over me as I stop to snap a picture of the bridge behind them. I wonder if being homeless was the price that he had to pay to do what he loved. I noticed that one of the friends was actually a woman. I tried to imagine their story and what she had to sacrifice for him to do what he loved. Did she resent it? Does she wish that she meant as much to him as his music? Or does he see himself in her eyes. Her devotion to give up all the comforts to follow him wherever he might lead her, to be with him no matter what the circumstances. She is that one special person that says, “I believe in you” and it is what keeps him going. I envied that kind of devotion.
I could see a group of friends acting silly naturally. Taking selfie pictures to show the world they do not have a care in the world. Then I look at the man I love with all my heart and I wonder how we appear to others. Can they see how much I love this man? Or can they sense the barrier between us. The years of resentment building up that barrier and sense the war needed to bring it down. A war that might not end well for the marriage. Was it worth the risk? I wanted to be like the carefree friends with him and I did not know how.
The wind blew in a small rain cloud and it dampened our already sodden moods. It is what actually broke the pent-up emotional dam that I was trying to keep contained. A war broke out and each of us armed with years of hurt. It shook the brittle foundation that our marriage stood upon and it frightened me. I do not doubt I love this man, it is a kind of love that has carried us through many tough times. But this time I was truly afraid that it would not survive. I laid down my weapons and I surrendered. I let go of my pride and I begged him to fight for us. He was determined to drive the hundreds of miles home that night and put an end to this misery. But my words seemed to penetrate his armor and the storm started to subside. We decided to spend the rest of our vacation repairing the damage. He found a hotel on the ocean and we spent the next few days recouping, talking and falling back in love with each other.
One of the nights of our stay a storm had rolled in while we slept. I was afraid that it might ruin our plans for the next day. I woke up before the sun rose and quietly grabbed my camera and headed for the beach. As the world began to lighten with the dawn, I could see the clouds on the horizon. I was so disappointed, no sunrise pictures. I was about to turn around and head back to the warm hotel room, when the clouds seemed to break apart. “Wait for it”, the words echoed in my head, “See what good a storm can do”. I waited and I was not disappointed. As the sun began to rise, the most beautiful sky appeared. The reflections in the pools of water left by the crashing waves magnified the colors. I listened to the ohs and ahhs around me as people witness this extraordinary event and I wished I had awaken my husband. With him on my heart, the sunrise took on a different kind of beauty and when the light was just right, I took a picture with my cell phone and sent it to him with a good morning message. He joined me and together we walked in the magical light, the storm cleared the air and the day was perfect.
The storm that exploded between my husband and I also cleared the air and brought us closer. Our last dinner was at a very popular restaurant and it was not that great, but instead of it ruining the night, we joked about it. It felt so good to laugh with him. As we waited for the bill, the family at the next table was trying to decide what to eat. I could feel the tension between them and the fakeness they were all wearing, trying to make this a memorable trip. It look like the mother was close to tears and I almost felt sorry for her. I wish I could lean over and tell her that storms within a relationship could be beneficial, but I knew she would not understand. I instead leaned over to my husband and kissed him gently. “I love you” I whispered. I could feel his smile under my lips and it reached his eyes as he gazed into mine. I knew then that we had weathered another storm and came out stronger.