Reading Between The Signs

I stand at the window and wave until the brake lights blink three times, and then I close the blinds. It has been our morning routine for over a year. At some point, I started watching him drive away on the highway and saw the brake lights blink again, still sending the signal, not knowing if I was receiving it. I count how many times he blinks: three, six, nine . . . sometimes twelve, before the taillights disappear into the darkness. In the early days, I saw the blinks, but thought he was just testing the brake lights. Then one day, he asked me if I noticed them.

“Sure,” I answered. “Checking the brakes?”

“Saying ‘I love you,’” he told me. Each blink a word, sometimes with bright and lasting emphasis on the last word.

That is the love story I live each day. That is the magnitude of my good luck. That is my great blessing. I have the privilege to be loved by a man who thinks in terms of signs and symbols, cryptic messages, and countless acts of kindness. To be loved at all is such a gift; to be loved by a man who lives to demonstrate how high, how deep, how wide is his feeling—that’s incomparable treasure. That the gift has been bestowed on a pragmatic, earth-bound creature like me is incongruous; I can match the love, but I fear I fail in the presentation. He creates signs. I make sandwiches.

However, for several months a few years back, I was the sign maker. I think it started when I made him a sandwich with grapes–here is a link to the blog about that:

The next day, after the grape controversy, I put a Post-It note on his sandwich that declared “This grape-free sandwich is brought to you by the wife who knows better!!!” After that, I kept thinking of funny things to put on notes in his sandwiches. I started drawing pictures of the cat, creating cartoons of events around the house, and adding silly captions. Chris, in his typical fashion of adoring everything his wife does, saved all of the notes. I’ll share a few here:

The parade was a nightly ritual of Hubbells and Hubbell’s cat marching down the hall to bed. The other two are self-explanatory, and the third is a sad reminder of the months after our cat, Smokey, disappeared.

The mouse in question in that note makes his own memorable appearance in the blog “Dead Mouse Hunting”:

On Valentine’s Day, it will have been 33 years since Chris slipped a ring on my finger and asked me to marry him. I would have been totally shocked, but he’d been measuring the third finger on my left hand with pieces of paper and string for weeks; more signs and symbols. Nevertheless, having the man you love more than life itself place a shiny diamond ring on your hand is a thrill beyond the element of surprise. Years later, when you watch at the window for tail lights to blink a message, you realize that of all the choices you’ve made in life, saying “yes” to that question was one of the best.


3 Responses

  1. brenda germain

    that was an awesome story I can see the love between you 2 when you look at each other you both are blessed love you Mary

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