A very short story…
“Why did you decide to get married?” Kumar asked his lifelong, and dearest friend, Amit. “You always said you wouldn’t.”
They had been sitting, mostly silent, watching the sunrise and appreciating each other’s company. It had been years since their last meeting. Tea cups now empty sat between them waiting to be filled back up with words.
Kumar leaned closer to encourage his reply.
But Amit was gathering his thoughts. It wasn’t for lack of an appropriate answer or because he was unsure. His friend deserved his best answer. He deserved his deepest truth. Kumar, knowing his friend well, patiently waited.
Amit hadn’t married his wife, Sarah, for the reasons most of his friends and family assumed. But he respected their hesitancy. They were so different to those on the outside looking in. They were products of different cultures, different continents, different worlds so it was easy for people to wonder what common ground they shared. Some ulterior motive was usually the suspicion and that one hurt him most.
Sarah bloomed in his mind then, as she always did over all these years; even those they spent half a world apart. The image remained the same and the familiar scene formed and played out as it always did when his heart responded. She came to him as a little child, running barefooted down the path. Her smile rivalling the sun blazing down on them, yellow hair floating behind her. His heart would stutter and fill him with joy. She was as tall as the sky and as tiny as a blossom and his most precious treasure.
He waited for her eternally in this secret place; a green and wild and watery place. Their place. Filled with butterflies and birds and promises and his own unending boyhood. They would meet without words. All smiles and giggles. He would offer her the flower he’d picked and she would tuck it in the collar of her dress. Together, they would push their little raft into the muddy water of the river and lay back to watch the sky. Hand in hand they would ride the current, making cloud pictures and sharing riddles. The direction they traveled was meaningless. There was only one way. Together.
This was their relationship. Even the daily doldrums of marriage couldn’t change it. This was who she was to him and he knew it was who he was to her. All of this rolled to the tip of his tongue.
“Because I love her.”
Kumar searched his friend’s eyes a moment and sat back again.
“Yes. This is the best answer,” he said.
He turned his tea cup over and set it back down with a sigh.
The truth is always in the pauses between words.