How Do I Love Thee?

“This reminds me of a time when I was a child…”  Steve was about to retell a story.  It is one he has told several times in class, because a lot of things can remind you of it.  When he was a child he went to Mammoth Cave and they turned out all the lights and it was very dark.  Young Steve gasped, and the tour guide encouraged him not to be afraid.  To which Steve responded, “I am not afraid, I am just scared.”  It is a funny story; it’s adorable.  However, having been in class for over a year now, I have heard it a few times. 

This time was different though, because Cindy was in class.  Cindy is Steve’s wife.  I am SURE Cindy has heard this story several times as well.  My husband and I have been married only five years and we are constantly unintentionally retelling stories to and in front of one another.  Our five years is nothing in comparison to decades Cindy and Steve have been together, raising 5 kids into adulthood together.  Even so, when Cindy heard the story, she laughed.  Not only did she laugh, she guffawed.  She laughed more loudly and more genuinely than anyone else in the room.   And Steve, he came alive.  He told the rest of the story with more life and more vigor than I’d ever heard him tell it. 

It. Was. Beautiful. 

I think there is something particularly special about the love shared between two artists.  One can’t help but think of the great love stories when looking at Cindy and Steve.  Often I’m reminded of the love between Elizabeth Barret Browning and Robert Browning, the type of love that created the infamous poem, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

Cindy has been gone for about two weeks now, and she came home today.  I am not sure there is a synonym for the word “miss” that is powerful enough to accurately describe how Steve has been longing for Cindy.  All through class today he couldn’t help but mention her and look at his phone to determine exactly how long it would be before she arrived.

About a month ago I remember asking Steve the question, “What is the greatest thing you have ever done in your life?”  I was digging with the question, fully expecting to hear about an accomplishment of his as an artist.  I was expecting to hear about some of the notoriety received from “Calvary” or having his art on the cover of the New York Times, there is a plethora of things he could have chosen from.  Instead what he said was, “Marry Cindy.”

He explained that marrying Cindy is what made the rest of his accomplishments possible, that having her by his side has given him the courage to step out and the freedom to be an artist.  At the time I felt it was a bit of a cop out, a sweet one, but still.  However, watching Cindy laugh uncontrollably at a story she’s heard many times and watching Steve pace through the studio today, I think he is right.  

Posted on August 24, 2016 .