“What are you looking for?”
“What does it matter to you?”
“Then go back to sleep!”
“I can’t sleep with your light on.”
“I’ll turn it off.”
“Look, we both know your not going to sleep with something on your mind. You’ll keep the both of us awake until you find it”
“I can move to the guest room if my problem is a hindrance to your precious sleep?”
“Just tell me what you are looking for woman.”
The name hit him like the heart attack he had a couple of years ago. It sounded like an accusation and his racing heart was already guilty as charged. He couldn’t breathe and his head started spinning. He sat up, pushed the heavy covers away from him and placed his feet on the cold floor. He needed something hard and cold to ground him. How long had it been since he last saw Love? How long had Love been missing? He clung to the edge of the bed to keep himself from tumbling over. How long had she known that Love was missing?
She heard the shuffling of the linen and she turned to watch him. He looked like the hunted running for cover. She was glad that something she said moved him, it had been a long time since he cared about anything to do with her. But she hurt seeing how shaken he was, her words always seem to injure rather than rouse the compassion and passion she missed so much. He looked crushed and she feared that she was the boulder that pinned him down. He looked out into the night, passed the open window, he looked ready to flee. She hurt and it ached deep inside in an organ she didn’t know she had. She felt that familiar panic crawl up her heart and squeeze life out of her. She needed air.
He heard the swish of her silk nightgown as she raced to the open window. Was she going to jump? She looked frightened. He couldn’t remember the last time he had seen her so shaken, so desperate and so alone. She clung to the windowsill like her life depended on it. She stared into the darkness. He guessed she was waiting on the hero he tried to be, time and time again, but always fell short. He watched her and he didn’t even know he was holding his breath. How long had it been since he looked at her this way? She looked broken, beaten and bruised. He hadn’t been a faithful steward and seeing her this way tore him up inside. A man will leave and cleave but he hadn’t held fast to his wife. How did they get here? Where had they taken the wrong turn? The Bible on the side of the bed drew his eyes and his heart sank deeper into condemnation. He only picked it up on Sunday and only opened it in Church. No wonder he was so lost, he hadn’t looked into the map of marriage for a long time. Every fibre in his body screamed failure. Job had made a covenant with his eyes never to look at another woman with desire but his wife. Every time he read those words, of men he admired, it was like a knife that executed him for his minds waywardness. He turned to her full of shame for having failed to be the co-captain of this sinking marriage. The night breeze lifted her silk nightgown moving it into a sensual dance. The silky sway conjured phantoms that quickly stole his thoughts and led him into memories of Delilah’s delights. He could almost feel Jezebel’s warm breathe on his cheeks. He shut his eyes and tried to exorcise the demons. He dug his fingers into his scalp and gasped loudly, he could not fight the shame anymore. He hurt and it ached deep inside in an organ he didn’t know he had.
She turned when she heard him fight for air. Oh God not again. Not another heart attack triggered by my vindictive tongue! She watched him claw at his head and she could not move. The last time she watched him fight death, she prayed for God not to take him away. She begged God to let him live so that she would forgive him and let go of the anger. She missed who they used to be. She missed his touch, his kiss, his smile and the tinkle in his eyes. She missed being the instrument of his joy and the conductor of his laughter. She missed seeing him throw his head back in surrender to joy poured out in musical deep laughter. She hadn’t looked into his eyes for a long time, really looked into them. How had she cared for their children and not cared for him? How had she poured all of herself into their home and left nothing for him? When did serving him become a chore? When did she lose the joy of being wife and become a beast of burden? She remembered the first time she caught a scent that was not hers in his car. She knew she was over thinking it but it nagged at her. Maybe she shouldn’t have let it sit so long in her mind because it just grew like a cancer. It slowly spread insecurity, fear and desperation to every member of her being. And when he began to distance himself, she should have called a truce and reached out for him but her pride would not let her. She could not let him see just how much she needed him. She would not be weak and needy. If he left, she was going to be strong. He would not break her! But now it killed her to see just how wrong she was. Every time she cut him with her words it was her blood that flowed. Every hour she gave him the silent treatment it was her own grave she dug. Every time she turned away from his reaching embrace, it was her soul she rejected. They were one person; and the two shall become one flesh. When had she lost sight? She had always prayed, “Lord thy will be done”! But as soon as she said amen, she took back the wheel. Oh God why has it taken so long for the scales to fall from my eyes? She groaned and swayed.
He looked up. He moved fast and caught her into his arms just before she hit the cold hard ground. She was so light. Oh God what have I done? Where is the wife of my youth? I should have fought for her even if it meant fighting her. He lay her on the bed and watched her. Her brow was wrinkled and he knew he was the cause of her pain. He often wondered if she ever cared enough to think of him. Lately she looked through him never at him. He felt like one of her many accessories never a necessity. She opened her eyes and pushed him away. She did not trust him and he deserved it, that much he knew. She walked back to the window and he remembered the night they fought about leaving the window open. It was the day he came from the hospital after the heart attack. He often woke up in the middle of the night feeling trapped and only the open window soothed him. She thought he wanted to be free of her. How could something so simple be so misunderstood? He only needed the window open to breath easier, it was the circulation of air that he needed!
He felt her looking at him. He had always felt her eyes on him. The first time he laid eyes on her it was in response to her glance. In the beginning her eyes spoke more love than a thousand words but now he was afraid to look up because these days they only judged and executed. He missed her. She stood only a few steps away but he missed her. He missed how she looked into his eyes like he was the eighth wonder of the World. He missed hearing her say, “You’re my man, my one and only.” He missed those days when fights lasted seconds and forgiveness came as sure as the dawn. He missed the times when their conversations were punctuated with laughter, high fives, smiles, winks, long sessions of eye contact and stolen kisses. Oh God how do I get my wife back? When did this snake slither into my house? I know I need to stop calling her a snake but God she coils and strikes like one. When I least expect it she sinks her fangs into me and her poison kills me softly.
“SSSSSSSS….is that what you’re thinking?”
How does she do that? Know what he is always thinking?
“Oh God. Please don’t start!” His eyes plead
“I know,” she cracks a weak smile. “It’s been a while since I said those words.”
“How do the words taste?” He returns her smile with a pathetic grin.
“Like dirt.” She lets out a malnourished giggle!
“I am sorry too.” He is baffled by her broken humour but he is so so sorry. For everything. For making her old with worry. He should have been there. Here.
She hears the catch in his voice and knows he means it. He didn’t lie when he called her snake. She was a snake. She had twisted things for so long because she wanted him to feel the weight of guilt. But now she didn’t care who was to blame anymore. She smiled as she pictured Adam and Eve fighting over who should have stopped whom from eating the apple. What does it matter now? It’s done, sin is here and hurt now walks where Love dwells but hurt often hurtles us to where we need to be. Oh Love where are you? Where could I have left you? Did Eve ever find you? She looks at him but this time when his eyes meet hers she does not look away. She sees her son in those eyes. She sees her daughter in that chin. All her children look back at her and her Jericho walls come tumbling down. She searches his face and finally she sees him. He rises, slowly, as if not to scare her away. She smiles at the thought of her being compared to a gentle fearful creature. From snake to dove, talk about transfiguration! He stands in front of her and suddenly his face crumbles and he falls to his knees. He wraps his arms around her waist and begins to sob uncontrollably. She holds his precious head and begins to weep with him. She rocks him and the pain of loss pierces her heart.
“Oh Love where are you?” She bellows.
“Here I AM.”
They both look up, faces full of shock and drenched in tears.
“Where did you go?” She asks
“I never left.”
“But…but…” He could not find the words
“I have always been here. Waiting.”
“Waiting…for what.” He couldn’t believe it. Love. Here. All the time? Why the silence?
“For you to remember.”
“R..r…r..remember what?” He manages to stammer
“Grace. Undeserved favour.”
He begins to weep, holds his wife tightly and buries his face into her side.
“Please forgive me.” He moans
By some super human strength, she pulls his arms away. She falls to her knees and takes his face into her hands.
“The one who needs forgiveness is me, my one and only” She looks into him, her greatest wonder of the World. Kisses both his eyelids one by one, then she kisses his cheeks, she pulls his head down and kisses his wrinkled brow and finally she softly kisses his lips.
“That’s why the book of proverbs says, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” Love grins.
It’s like coming home. He feels reborn, every burden lifted. This is how Love must have felt like when He tasted the heaven He knew well, as Angels ministered to Him after fasting forty days and forty nights in the desert. Like Moses he had finally left Egypt. She was his land of milk and honey. His helper. His lifesaver. He felt strength flood his soul and his heart filled with new found hope.
“Come to me you who are heavily burdened and I will give you rest.” Loved looks into his eyes and he feels washed clean. “My yoke is easy and by burden is light”
She clings to him. Not in fear but to savour this taste of salvation. Such redemption is new to her. This is how mother Mary must have felt to see her Son alive, with the pierced hands that would wipe her tears away and welcome her to her final home.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Love smiles as he whispers “Revelation 3:20.” Love picks up the Bible and gives it to him.
“I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13”