“Happy birthday,” she whispered, and snuggled her cheek to the hollow of my shoulder, “I wish I could make it more special for you.” She shut her eyes, and I smelled her hair, that familiar, warm and loving smell that comforts me, soothes me, calms me.
I breathed her in for a moment, shut my eyes and felt her heartbeat against mine, her arms around me. I hugged her hard, felt my eyes burn with saline beneath my lids.
My mind raced for a moment. All those memories flooded me – the times we shared. The moments we laughed until our sides and cheeks hurt, the moments we cried until we had no more tears, the times we ranted together and railed against the world, the times she held me up, the times I knew she could feel me even if I wasn’t there. Holding our son, fleeing together, sharing an unbearable burden together. The good times, the bad times, the decade comprised of moments, one atop another, building into this beautiful thing we’ve called our marriage. The bond between us, the unseen third chord in our strand of three, He Who makes us what we are. The belief we share, the way she listened and I answered until she surpassed me, the happiness and the pain and the underlying joy and companionship.
All I want is to care for her and the children, to provide for them, to love them and experience them and enjoy them. Moments like this, days like this, come at such high cost, and yet they are treasures. Tiny fortunes beyond price.
And I blinked the tears back and spoke into the part of her hair as I have a million times before.
“I have you … I have them … what else can I ask? What could be more special than that?”