Every time I see this bit of vandalized property, my heart smiles:
It’s along the road near my house…a road we frequently drive, walk, run, and bike.
Someone painted it on one of those boxes used for monitoring light or electricity or who-knows-what.
It’s not very big, you see.
It’s at the base of a “T” in the road. So, if you’re stopped across the street you must turn either right or left.
So far so good?
Here is where imagination must kick in. Why would someone graffiti this, right?
It could just be some hoodlum kids, all ready to do hood rat stuff and make art and what not.
But I pretend that there’s more to the story.
Pretty sure there is a young couple who lives on the street. They met on a boardwalk one summer. He was walking with a friend, she was drinking lemonade…and wearing a vintage, red swimsuit (obviously).
She asked him for the time, he noted to himself how pretty he thought her eyes were.
And then, they fell in love (but it took longer…like, they became friends and what not first). One summer night, when the air was still warm and the stars and white Christmas lights lit the trees, he shared with her that he always wanted to be an artist, but was afraid of losing the security of a “real job”…but he was also afraid of losing the power of creative expression. She told him all of her secrets, too, like how she was afraid of relationships ending, just like her father left her mother.
But, they had, between them, heard just enough fairy tales to believe in the magic of love.
And so, they got married…and moved into a bungalow. She would iron his pants and dress-shirts and he would sit on the floor and help her cut out felt figures for her preschool class. They laughed a lot, ate out more than they ever told their parents, and planted pansies in the wrong spot (it was a new house…and they guessed on the sun patterns. Honest mistake).
One night, they got in a fight. A big fight. And she cried and he took his coat and left, which scared them both.
She laid in bed by herself, thinking about how angry she was…but also how much she wanted the marriage to work.
And he walked through the neighborhoods and thought about how angry he was…but he also remembered the night, under the trees full of stars and Christmas lights, when she shared how scared she was that he would leave her one day. And he thought about how her deep eyes trembled but trusted him anyway. And then he thought about that time they stood in a church together, her in white lace, and her voice trembled but her hands held his firmly and she promised to love him forever. And then he thought about the day, on the boardwalk, when he first noticed her beautiful eyes.
She woke up the next day, and he wasn’t at home, but the cereal was out on the table…which is how he always left it. And she put it away.
Then she got in her car and drove to the end of the street to turn to work…and there, on the electrical box, was a message. And she knew from the style who is was from.
That night he rushed home early with some flowers, but she had also rushed home and was making their favorite meal. So, they surprised each other equally and stammered through some apologies.
Then the food was accidentally burned but, you know, they ate it anyway. Because they had both tried and because they both needed it eat. It turns out it wasn’t that bad, and they were committed.
This was the first of several burned dinners, several fights…but lots of memories and lots of forgiveness and lots of love. They each stretched a lot, forgave a lot, and loved a lot.
And every morning when she turned the corner, she remembered that he loved her…and she smiled.
IT’S SO CLICHE BUT I DON’T CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARE!!
I do what I want.
I love you guys, though.
I’m also pretty dang sure that the heart was added later…by her. It was after she gave him an envelope of scraped-together savings for his first semester of art school…just so he could walk a few steps in the direction of his dreams.
You see, she loved him back.