Upon my request, my husband has left me a thermos of coffee on the countertop. He has made it in the early morning hour between his waking and mine. He has left via the garage on his bicycle for work, having showered and dressed in silence so as not to wake me in that hour. My husband has left me a drawing next to the thermos. He has drawn me some birds surrounding a skinny, shaky heart. He is man who was not used to drawing hearts before he knew me. He has gotten so used to drawing hearts.
And what do I feel like doing with these hearts and these birds? I feel like pulling a black pen from the junk drawer and drawing big ugly crows at the corners of his note. I feel like drawing the crows screaming at the birds he has drawn. Bent at their bird waists with the effort of it. With slits for eyes. They would be twice the size of the birds my husband has drawn. They would be replicas of the crows that have built a nest on our roof and scream from the telephone wires at dawn. I won’t know why I want to draw these crows. I just know that the blank space around the birds my husband has drawn has telegraphed a message to my brain that the space should be filled with something absurd and awful, and my brain responds by filling my body with an urgency that I must force myself to walk away from.
Most men wouldn’t draw hearts and birds for their wives. And those who would… who would then come home to a nasty drawing on top of theirs, one drawn in jest, of crows, would frown and worry about their love. Maybe dig through old love letters just to make sure of things, and return with concern, worry in their eyes. They would ask why, or maybe not. Maybe they would just let the hurt fill them and they would go for a long walk and return still full of hurt.
More callous men would shrug and address me as “dude” and tell me they were going to watch the game. Those men would not brew their own coffee, let alone dig a scrap of paper out from the bin and leave me a note with the coffee brewed especially for me.
My man? He laughs along with me. He sees the absurdity behind my dark urges. He kisses my forehead and shakes his head from side to side and smiles wide and asks me, like we do of each other from time to time, “You? Really?”
Happy Anniversary to my husband, who has put up with my dark moods for more than fifteen years, and continues to be a great big light in my life, and who now has to endure this Internet display of affection, even though this sort of thing normally makes us both roll our eyes. Love you, Burds.