Cold then. A slow gritting lorry flashed its orange globe at me as I came here. I see our parents have left a glass jar of pot-pourri with you-fir cones in it, cinnamon sticks. A dried, golden pear. I don't know what its scent is-spice, but also a musk, of some kind. Frankincense? Nor do I know very much of how love is shown, for I so rarely show it. But these are the gestures people remember, or kneel at, I know that much. It isn't the big declarations. No brass bands playing. It's cinnamon sticks, or a drawing of a sleeping dog. Or the gift of a stone moved with the sea for so many years that its rolled into a smooth round ball.~ The Oystercatchers
Many years ago, when I was a very young woman and my own love was new, I had a friend who was in her sixties. Reenie told me a story I've never forgotten.
Her life, her love was a disappointment. She and her husband had spent years growing apart, becoming strangers. They had become roommates. The kind you are assigned in college, not the roommates we excitedly choose for ourselves. Their love had become a dim memory, made bittersweet by the sadness that always accompanies years of disappointment. After more than a year of considering, Reenie decided to divorce her husband. Decided to spend the last decades of her life alone rather than with a man who no longer loved her.
On the evening she planned to tell him, Reenie took a shower to help steady her nerves. When she opened a drawer to get out her underthings, she found a Snickers bar tucked inside. Her favorite. He remembered. He brought her one for no good reason. Just because. He left it there to surprise her. To do something nice. To make her smile. A Snickers bar.
I imagine her sinking to the floor, still damp and clad only in a towel. Eating that Snickers, savoring that sweetness. Deciding then that the sweetness of being known was worth the sadness of feeling distant. Deciding then that things could change between them. Deciding to stay.
And that's exactly what she did. She stayed. She loved. She started again.
And so did he.
Excerpt from the book Oystercatchers by Susan Fletcher. The perfect image, called Forever, is by Daria Sukhanovska.