Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a handy man

I tried to break up with Joel several times while we were dating. We were moving too fast. He wasn't who I thought I was supposed to be with (never mind that *I* didn't know who I was supposed to be with). And all of those stupid brainwashing chic flicks have that moment where drama happens and the couple is ripped apart, only to reunite under tormented passionate circumstances. Maybe I was trying to set the scene for that. On more than one occasion I would tell the irresistible Natalee that I was going to break up with him and leave the apartment, only to return home late and say, a little perplexed, "We're still together."

See, every time I would bring up how incompatible we were, Joel would listen quietly and then say, "Nah. I don't want to break up." And that was that. The calm, methodical approach that baffled me on those nights is what has proven to be my life's anchor. Also, his hands.

Here's a secret that might border on the intimate (your eyes! your eyes!): when I see Joel's hands, I am left nearly speechless. See, they're mesmerizing. I think that's why I have never mastered anything photography-related, something that confuses (and maybe disgusts) Joel. But see, he's using his HANDS to show me how to use it and I just kind of zone out. His smallest fingers have this endearing way of curving in ever so slightly. It was something I noticed in miniature form on Ainsleigh as she lay in my arms, just hours old, and I was thrilled that this characteristic had been passed on. I'll even confide, knowing full well that he'll read this, there are times I have been unhappy or bothered by Joel and I will force myself to avoid looking at his hands, because they will completely obliterate the memory of why I'm irritated (and sometimes I just NEED to be irritated. this rationale comes from the same part of my brain that thought I needed to break up with him. old habits, and all).

Over the years, I've watched those hands hold our babies and comfort me at the passing of beloved grandparents and change diapers and teach kids how to ride bikes and work to our family and bless our children and perfect pictures for gifts and posterity and assemble toys and lay tile and make pancake breakfasts, to name a few. Twice a year, Joel cooks dinner. And not just any dinner. Over the years he's pulled off dishes like filet mignon with mustard sauce and garlic mashed potatoes, Caribbean seafood pasta and callaloo soup, black cherry lamb chops and risotto, etc. This year he proudly announced his theme: Bacon.

And so I got to see a convergence of my life's greatest loves: Joel's hands and bacon, as he prepared a bacon-wrapped (brined the night before) pork loin, to be topped with a maple glaze; mashed potatoes with bacon and smoked gouda; a curly endive salad with bacon and a dressing made with, you guessed it, a touch of bacon fat. (We think the salad was supposed to be a 1:1 ratio of lettuce to bacon, but we actually exercised restraint. It was more like 2:1.)

It was a lovely way to celebrate 11 years of having those hands in my life.


Becca said...

I see that one of the books on your nightstand is Harry Potter 6?!?!?! Is this a first time read or a reread? I can't remember. I'm jealous either way. I was reading the 4th book in the psych unit today.

GWACK said...

Funny, I pulled the same thing with Alex. I tried to break up with him a time or two in the beginning of our relationship and he just kinda said, "no." And now 11 years after meeting and 9 years of marriage, we're still together and in love.

Glad that you and Joel had an awesome dinner. The bacon theme sounds delicious.