How Close?

When I was 25 I watched my parents dance together. It wasn’t the first time I had seen them dance, but it was the first time I paid attention. They moved together as a single unit across the floor. My father held my mother as lightly as a feather and she smiled and swayed in his arms as though her feet were hovering above the floor. Without a word, they swung apart and back together again, knees lightly touching here, a hand on a shoulder there. For a few minutes, everyone else in the room disappeared and I saw them alone as they moved to the music. They were lost in their private world, where nothing existed except the two of them. I realized then, as I do now, that my parents put each other ahead of everything else in their lives.

How close can two people become? They can become so integrated with each other that one begins breathing where the other leaves off. Where a single look across a room, a sigh, a touch, carries more words than a novel. They can become so connected that even when separated by continents and oceans, one person can suddenly sit up and know that at that very moment, the other person is thinking of them.

It doesn’t come easily or quickly. It takes time to get to the point where one person finishes the others sentence. Where you can dance with your partner and move as one. But if you commit your life to someone else then you have years to work on it. The two of you will see each other at your weakest, most selfish, most horrible state. You’ll laugh and scream and cry at each other. You’ll say things you regret having ever said out loud, or things that you regret you didn’t say sooner. There will be times when you look at your partner and wonder what on earth you were thinking when you said “I do.” These moments may last for months. But then one day you’ll wake up and look at your partner and the thought of not having this person in your life will make you lose your breath.

It takes great courage to show someone else what is inside of you. To not be afraid to be vulnerable, and to trust your partner to love you as you really are, not as others perceive you. But once you’ve done that with each other, then it begins. Slowly, painfully sometimes and joyfully at other times, you will begin to meld into each other. Then one day, years from now, you’ll find yourselves swaying to music, real or imagined. Held together with invisible strands of a lifetime of shared experience.

Categories: Family

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