day 17 – love is louder than all this noise
Two weeks ago, I came back from lunch completely incensed at the sight of a middle-aged man walking twenty feet ahead of his wife on the Euston Road. One minute, she was talking to him and he wasn’t listening in the way that many married men don’t (it’s not a cliché for nothing), and then the distance between them grew longer and her little legs, try as they might, couldn’t catch up, until he crossed the road on a red light and left her behind. I watched and watched. And watched. Waiting for that moment when he realized his wife was miles behind. He didn’t stop. He never so much as glanced back. He just kept on walking with his stupid carrier bag rolling behind him. As if this woman he was married to was nothing more than a stranger.
I went to work and told the guys that if they ever did that to their significant others, I’d have them castrated.
And then, last night, the flip side. In the long tunnel leading to the tube, an old man offered his elderly wife an arm to lean on. And as a thousand people rushed on by, they walked, in their own time, at her pace, together. I’m pro chivalry, I’m not gonna lie to you, but is there anything as endearing as an old love? It’s like driftwood softening after years of being battered by waves. The tenderness and patience and kind heartedness of a love that has not only spanned the years but has grown out of all the shit that happens in life. Shit that has, pardon the expression, made their love richer. Rather than let it go to seed and dry up– a tumbleweed in the wind.
You know there were storms in their years and they screamed and shouted in the passion of their youth, as they learned to dance their dance and navigate the uneven terrain that is love. You know there were times when they wanted to throw in the towel and there were doors slammed shut and maybe even bags packed. But they came back, time and time again, and they mended the holes and they put patches on those delicate parts that needed a bit more reinforcing over the years.
Life is one loop at a time and sometimes you unravel entire sections before you pick up again at that bit where everything got a little messy. You fix it (or you embrace that imperfect little stitch). You move on. You love on.
There’s noise everywhere and it’s so easy to let your heart grow hard and cold like a lump of clay in your chest. It’s so easy to turn your back on love and walk away or walk ahead. It’s harder to reach for someone’s hand in the dark of the night after harsh words were spoken, when everything in your being wants to hold onto the point you’re trying to make.
To know that your love is louder than all that noise.