Sunday, January 21, 2007

Love Dust

It's New Year's morning and my daughter and her boyfriend stop by my house unexpectedly, a look of excitement on their faces. Megan holds out her hand and shows me her new diamond ring. They are giddy with love, wanting to tell me the details of the proposal and plans for the wedding that she's been imagining for the past 5 years.

I see their excitement and wish somehow I could capture their feelings... love dust stored in a bottle, to be sprinkled whenever times are hard. I want Megan to remember exactly how she feels as they look at each other with playful happiness. They are naive and young, blissfully ignorant of the challenges that marriage can bring.

"Love dust? We'll never need that! Our love will always be this strong!” Megan would think to herself.

Little does she know.

There will be the times when he'll repeat that same story to every new acquaintance. It was so entertaining when she'd first heard it and she'd encouraged him to tell the story again and again. But by year 10, the story will have become increasingly exaggerated and she'll roll her eyes, thinking, "When did he become so full of shit?" Time for a little love dust.

There will be an Anniversary when she's exhausted yet still finds time to make a surprise romantic dinner only to learn that he's gone out with the guys. He'll come home tipsy, thinking sex will make things all better, not realizing that the only thing that can make things better is to relive that day where instead he comes home and showers her with praise and attention, claiming he'd never tasted anything quite so delicious. She won't be able to go back in time, but she'd have the love dust and that would make it better.

There will be days she feels overwhelmed by responsibilities, convinced that she does 99% of the work, taking care of the kids, the house, her job, the pets, and he can't even bother to pick up his dirty shorts? And what is that smell? She thinks maybe she could have her own room and they could just use the bedroom for romantic encounters. It's not like they don't love each other, it's just that she needs her girly space! She could sprinkle a little love dust around the room on those occasions.

There will be a time she finds herself attracted to someone else, knowing she'd never, ever cheat, but enjoying his attention. She'd dress a little nicer and check the mirror more often and feel a thrill when he laughs at her jokes. Then she'll see her husband enjoying a similar relationship with another woman and be very tempted to claw that bitch’s eyes out. She'd need the love dust then, though she might be reluctant to use it, afraid that it might work on the wrong person!

There will be days she is angry and disenchanted, thinking life would be so much easier if she didn't have to constantly compromise. She'll remember her parents divorce, barely a harsh word spoken, not knowing the devastating heartache from which she was sheltered. She'll think, "Divorce is not so bad. It happens all the time, and everyone is just fine." Those are the days I'd want her to sprinkle on a heap of the love dust, realizing divorce is, in fact, “so bad”. Love dust is such a better remedy when there are problems.

On her 50th Anniversary, when she's dancing with her husband, she'll think of all the times over the years when she needed her dust. She may want to check her bottle, wondering if it’s almost empty. She'll be surprised to find that, in fact, the bottle is overflowing, for every time the dust was used, it came back ten-fold, unbeknownst to her.

As I sort through my memorabilia, three years post-divorce, I find a dried rose, given to me by Megan's father many years ago. I toy with the idea of grinding it and bottling it as her love dust, but I realize it wouldn't be her dust, but mine. I find that even my love dust has power...not to eliminate grief and sadness, but to remind me that my love was real. I struggle to decide whether or not to part with my love dust, not wanting to let go of the little I have. Then I look at my daughter and her brothers and I know I don't need the rose. I’ve been blessed with an infinite amount of precious love dust. I wish her the same.