Beloved was standing before the mirror, getting ready to head out for a presentation. I sat back and watched him adjust his shirt, decide his beard was okay and run his fingers through his hair. I’ve watched him do this a million times if I’ve seen him do it once. And each time he will look at himself from all sides, stick his tongue out and then mutter “it’ll do”. At which point he flips off the light and leaves the room.
This time, as he was turning this way and that, I asked him if he was aware of what he was doing. He gave me a shrug of his shoulders and said “you can’t undo years of whatever”. Because he’s done it for so long, he can “remember” getting ready for all these events, even though he has no recollection of each actual moment. He is, as we all are, a creature of habit.
Before he headed out of the door, I knew what would happen next. He’d find the jacket, well actually he’d look in the closet, take a step back and see which jacket he felt like wearing. He would shrug into it, grab his keys and since I was sitting on the bed, he’d come over and give me a kiss. He’d glance at his watch, realize the time, and hurry down the hallway to where he left his shoes. And of course there would be drama over finding the pair of shoes (one always goes missing on him) and before I’d know it, he’d shout out “bye and wait up for me if you can luv” and he’d pull the door shut, locking it.
If I got off the bed and followed him down the hall, he’d fuss that I should be resting. We’ve done this so many times, the two of us, it’s like an old routine. But sometimes I surprise him, like tonight. I sipped his jacket on for him, gave him a kiss and went with him down the hall. He found both shoes waiting for him, only because while he was grabbing a shower I grabbed his shoes. And it was I who closed the door, after he left my sight.
Will he remember this event any differently because he had a different send off? Probably not, but I will. I will remember the way the way his blue eyes twinkled with surprise at me helping him. The way his eyebrows rose a he found both of his shoes waiting. And I will remember the playful smile at the corners of his mouth when I told him to hurry home.