During my marriage I’ve had two black ‘n blue eyes—one of them is just now fading, neither from Dale’s fist (violence isn’t in his nature even when he’s to-the-max irritated with me) and each a reminder of how moments of intimate togetherness pop up in surprising ways. Here’s how I got this one . . .
Excited about attending the Rally to Restore Sanity, we arrive Friday evening in DC. The plan: settle in, change, and go to dinner. Small hitch: Dale has left my suitcase in Richmond. Problem solved by finding and getting to Macy’s and CVS (we do) without getting lost (we don’t). If you’ve ever driven in an unfamiliar city with one of you navigating by iPhone Google Maps, you’ll understand how nerve-frayed we are when we sit down to a late dinner.
Early Saturday morning, off to the Metro and the rally on the National Mall. Hidden in a leaf pile—where I step—is a golfball-sized seedpod. Face plant on concrete—landing on the corner of my glasses—bleeding (and swearing) profusely. Time out for medical attention and glasses repair.
Bleeding staunched. Glasses bent back into shape. Off again. Packed Metro, no hope of getting on a train. To get ahead of the crowd, we travel in the opposite direction, a good plan foiled when our train is taken out of service. Grumbling, we wait hopefully for the next Mall-bound train. It arrives. It’s full. My Herculean effort to remain good-natured ends. Wearing bought-on-the-run, wedgie-giving, ill-fitting jeans, face and body hurting from the fall, at a Metro station instead of the rally, I’ve had it. I elbow my way through the crowd, bully my way onto the train and drag Dale with me.
Finally, we arrive—too late. Mall is overflowing. We sit on the steps of the National Archive where, if the wind blows just right, we hear snippets of the rally. Friday ruined by a forgotten suitcase, rally day ruined by a stupid seedpod. With no desire to repeat our earlier Metro experience, discouraged and disappointed, we wander into a tapas restaurant and belly up to the bar.
And that’s when the magic begins. We become part of an ad hoc group, everyone there for the rally. A man and his daughter from Iowa, a woman and her friend from Colorado, two young women from DC, a couple from Boston, a gay couple from South Carolina. For the next 90 minutes we side-split laugh, tell what brought us to the rally, share stories and pitchers of Sangria like old friends. In that restaurant, nowhere near the Mall, and after the rally has ended, we experience the spirit of the rally with like-minded people. It’s exactly why we are there.
Full of tapas, sangria, and joy from unexpected bonhomie, laughter, and camaraderie, we head home on a nearly empty Metro. Later, tucked in bed, Dale kisses my wounded and swollen face and says, “I’m so glad to have shared this experience with you. I’m sorry you’re hurt, but what a wonderful day it’s turned out to be.” We hug and drift off in each others arms.
It’s such times in a shared life that give it texture and meaning. Intimacy comes in all forms and in unexpected ways. We could have let forgotten luggage, getting lost in DC, my fall, and our disappointment at having missed the rally ruin our weekend. We could have sniped at each other, gotten into stupid arguments when he turned left instead of right, and had a miserable time. We didn’t. And because we didn’t, we have a treasured intimacy-building memory, a remember-when story to relive over and again. I’m proud of us.
The first black eye? That’s another story, for another time.
Shela Dean is a Relationship Coach, Speaker & Amazon Bestselling Author of Frequent Foreplay Miles, Your Ticket to Total Intimacy, available on Amazon, other online booksellers, and her website www.FrequentForeplayMiles.com.