Wednesday, February 05, 2014

A February Morning Surprise

Sharing my latest publication in Spark, in their issue themed on romance. What happens when a husband decides to surprise his wife by writing a love letter to her one fine morning? Read on.

A February Morning Surprise

Dear Wife,

It feels strange to be writing this letter. In this day and age where the art of coaxing a pen into conversing with a piece of paper are over, my purchase of a fountain pen feels anachronistic. We talk each day, we text each day, instant message and there is also the occasional e-mail. I thought I would write to you this time – literally. What I can’t express in words, I’ll express in words. Just not the spoken kind. The handwritten kind. I know you would never see this coming. A surprise hidden in plain sight!

How long have we been married now? I know the math and can tell the number of years, but it feels much longer than that. We were living together a day before we got married and continued to live together the day after. We split our chores and had our fights. We went to work and found time and means to unwind. We spent most of our time talking about the mundane while squeezing in just enough to talk about things that were special. We were romantic with each other, we were harsh to each other, we couldn’t stay without one another, we couldn’t stand each other. What was true on the day of the marriage remains true more than a decade later.

Love isn’t the charm that leaps out of pages of a novel. Love isn’t the rose tinted promise in commercials. Love is languorous and laborious. A work in progress, an investment of emotions. We didn’t know that then. We know that now. The tedium of this discovery takes us away from the obvious ways in which we remain special to one another. Between our jobs and kids and pressures of mortgage and family and uncertainty over the future, it is easy to lose sight of the large picture. We made it this far. We made it together.

It is said that after marriage, love gets stronger and the arguments longer. We certainly have our disagreements and there are certain things which have a dead end. We have hurt each other many a time trying to find a way through the morass. The important thing, we need to remind ourselves, that we have the power to hurt each other but we also have the power to forgive.

Lest you think that this is a sermon on the ways of love, rest assured that the intent isn’t that. All that heavy pondering that goes on in my mind remains dormant for the most part. What swims up to the surface are the little things that go towards making the little puzzle that is us. The million reasons we should be together can easily be countered by the other million where we shouldn’t be. What strange elements we bring to the table! One person’s fiery attitude is met with another’s calmness, one person’s determination met by another’s laziness, one person’s good looks met by another person’s better looks. One person’s penchant for spice met by another’s inclination towards sweet. The sum of our characteristics might likely cover the entire range of human emotion.

We are dissimilar, but drawn together as if by a rubber string the moment one tries to deviate too much. You will find that I do the bed exactly the way you like it though I think it is extraneous. You’ll tolerate my dulcet (ok, I’ll admit harsh) tones just because you don’t want me to interrupt my singing. If we were alike, we would have imploded, so perhaps the difference is a blessing in disguise.

No matter what, the one thing that I will pride myself at all times is my ability to surprise you. Like the time when we were dating and I drove five hundred miles to show up at your doorstep. Or this rather unexpected letter you are now holding. Written without rhyme, reason or occasion. Here’s to many more years of togetherness and surprises.

Your husband


Dear husband

It must be that time of the year when the scent of perfumed paper riddles the air. It must have been that since I can’t imagine how one wafted in from our bedroom. Perhaps a little paper plant made its way surreptitiously. Like you did, into my life. How many years has it been? I think we both know the answer to that.  But I know that perhaps you’d want to skip the actual number. It would remind us both of how old we are.

When is the last time I wrote a letter? Actually, it was only last week. I wrote a long letter to my grandfather, replete with several references to our kids and what they are up to. The love of our lives, those two devils. Thinking of my grandfather took me back to the time you had come home for the first time for the formal introduction to my family. Do you remember it? You waltzed into the room like you owned it, crossing one leg over the other, putting your hand across the sofa as if you frequented that place often. Do you remember my telling you that it stunned the family and how you thought it was a stupendous success that you managed to do that? Now that I think of it, you probably interpreted their being stunned as thanking their unbelievable luck. I think that interpretation might have been a little left of centre. Not that it matters anymore. What matters is that you and I are together and haven’t been stunned by our luck, simply pleased with it. There is no one else my parents would have had mild disapproval of that I’d rather be with.

We look at life in different ways. You are about the grand vision. I am about the minute details. You are the person who would rather write a ten year vision statement than rearrange the books in the library to make more sense (Having ‘The Da Vinci Code’ next to ‘Metamorphosis’ seems like a tad too generous on Dan Brown). I notice the things you don’t. On the brighter side, I also notice that the things that you do in fact do. That little effort you put into doing the smallest things for me perks up my day and makes me love you more.

Sweetheart, your intention trumps your execution more often than most. The mistakes, if careless, would have infuriated any woman, let alone me. The mistakes, though, are bungling of one pure of heart, and would win anyone over. You arrange the bed each morning and I rearrange it one more time after you are done. Do you remember the last trip to St. Louis? You bought me earrings for a black dress I used to wear that still existed only in your mind – I had outgrown it five years ago. It is in these little gaffes that I have discovered a great joy. I have learnt to smile and grimace each time I eat the omelette you make for us. You truly are the lost visionary, and for that, I am thankful. It perhaps would have been an issue if you and I both were lost staring at the ground and missed the stars altogether.

More than anything else, your attempts at throwing surprises keeps the amusement alive. Remember the time you landed up at my doorstep after driving five hundred miles? I had known it all along. Your carefully crafted plan should have included briefing your roommates about it. I had waited. I acted surprised. I loved the moment and wanted you to enjoy it. Here’s to more surprises as the years roll along, even those that are discovered.

P.S> Next time, you might want to order a fountain pen and scented pair on a different credit card whose bills I don’t review each month
P.P.S.> When you are done reading this, come downstairs. I have made omelettes.