Vinnie and I are driving home from his school. Even though it is only a ten-minute drive, we take our time, driving the scenic route that takes us through a cute little beachfront community. It’s our one on one time together during the day.
We are at a stop sign. There is one car in front of us. A cute young couple is trying to cross the street. They looked to be maybe seniors in high school. The girl was stunning. Her long dark hair was flowing in the light breeze. The young man was handsome in his own way. They were holding hands and looked completely and utterly content. The car in front of us motioned for them to go ahead and cross. The young girl, still holding hands with her partner, smiles, and waves at the car in front of us with her free hand in a “thank you” sort of way. I am not sure if she was happy they were able to cross the street, or she was happy because she was on the boardwalk, or perhaps she was just happy. It was sweet.
The young man looked equally happy. He held her hand, and they crossed the street together. The girl could not see the young man’s face. I wish she could have. The way he looked at her, beaming with pride, with love, with something magical made me stop. I looked at Vinnie and said, “Awww, look at them, young love.”
Vinnie was too busy doing his snap chat thing to pay attention. I watched the young couple walk off to their car. I hope he never stops looking at her that way.
As they say their goodbyes as they go off to different colleges, I hope the last thing she sees as she hops in her car is that look in her rearview mirror.
When she comes home on Thanksgiving break, I hope the first thing she notices as they greet each other face to face for the first time in three months is that look.
And, if one day they make it down to the altar, as she is standing there in her white gown, I hope that look is at the end of the aisle waiting for her. Because as time moves forward, that look will be more challenging to find. It’s easy to have that look in good times, the others, well, that takes a little more work.
Joe used to look at me that way. I probably have a picture laying around somewhere that proves that. On our first date, as he said goodbye, and thanked me “for a wonderful time” he gave me that look.
The first time we told each other “I love you” standing outside my old apartment, B-303, he gave me that look. I always knew where I stood with him, not because of materialistic things, but because of that look.
As he would introduce me to new people “This is my wife.” There was a sense of pride not in his voice, but in his eyes.
When we had our first fight as a married couple, I got a different kind of look. It was not until we sat down and talked about it, that I got the look that made me fall in love with him.
I can actually remember the exact day I fell in love with him. We were sitting at my dining room table, just talking, getting to know each other. I could physically feel myself falling in love with him. Hopefully, he was able to see that look in my eyes.
On our wedding day, dealing with every sort of stress imaginable, he had that look.
On our honeymoon night, and this is a true story, my father called me because he lost his wallet at Joe’s family house. Without saying a word, Joe gets up, kisses me goodbye, while giving me that look, as he and my dad went looking for his lost wallet.
When I was scared to death to tell him I was pregnant he gave me that look. It was that look that told me there was nothing to be afraid of. Until there was.
As I was laying on the hospital table, going through a miscarriage, he was there holding my hand, giving me that very same look.
The birth of our subsequent children, me bringing God knows how many cats home, he would still give me that look. I mean sometimes that look would entail some eye rolling, but always, there was that look.
Days spent at the NICU, overdrawn bank accounts, forgetting to pay the power bill, if I looked hard enough, that look would always be there. But, I did have to look for it.
We have been through a lot as a couple, and I know many more obstacles are up the road ahead. I just hope, that even through the worst of it, sickness, feelings of disconnect, loneliness, I hope that he will never forget where we began. Where we all usually begin, with a look.
“Mom, what are you waiting for go!”
I was snapped out of my trance, of my walk through time so to speak. I turned to my left, searching for the couple one last time. He was opening the car door for her, she returned his look.
Slowly, I took my foot off the brake and pushed the gas ever so gently.
Well, it was good while it lasted, the whole car door thing, that won’t last.