I remember in vivid clarity the first time I held my husband’s hand. It was a handshake on a noisy, perpetually filthy road, and with it I learned his name. It stood out to me so because of it’s candor, it’s honesty, and it’s refreshing formality in a teenaged world of head nods and half-waves. It seemed somehow grown-up.
I realize only now how very young we were.
We have grown up together. For better or worse, our characters have molded each other like grafted vines forming a knotted hybrid.
When we were courting, we each wore a ring. Mine in Hebrew, his in Latin, they bore the words of Solomon: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” On the morning of our wedding day, I slipped the ring into a little box, it’s promise now fulfilled. My right hand felt strangely naked. He put another band on my left hand, and like a reversal of the Fall, that feeling of vulnerability, of loss and nakedness, seemed to disappear.
The inscribed band is still in its box, and now I have another in its place, a Swedish tradition that marks me as a mother, as if somehow the living reminders would not proclaim loudly or widely enough the miracle of the fulfillment of those Hebrew words, now inscribed upon my life: I am his his and he is mine and we are one and our one became three and then four.
Then came the day when I realized that his hand touching mine no longer brought fireworks or imprinting clarity…
…because, like the rings I wear, his hand feels like a part of my own body. The absence of it would be the remarkable thing.