angPhoto by M2 Photography

  • It’s 12:52 a.m. on a Thursday morning. It’s raining. And I can hear a drunk singing some Eric Clapton song karaoke at the bar on my block. For some reason, all I can think about is that I love my wife, and how much her and I love the rain. I have always been pretty good with words, but always fall short when trying to describe my love for her. Now another lush is singing “hit me with your best shot” by Pat Benatar. Dear God.
  • A brick building sits directly across the street from our apartment; this building is very old. Almost every time I look at it, I spot this one brick. It stands out because it’s a few shades lighter than the other bricks around it. It has been set there, for at least a century, surrounded by mortar and thousands of other bricks. I imagine for a moment that if this one brick were removed, the entire structure would collapse into its own footprint, poof.
  • I hate clichés. To be honest, engaging in small talk generally annoys me. Saying things that everyone says every day just gets under my skin. People ask the normal questions, “How’s married life?” or “What kind of job can you get with that degree?” and they sound like robots. There is an unmistakable and wry redundancy in their tone, almost as if they are mocking me. Sometimes I just want to scream, or do something bizarre like strip naked and run away with my hands waving in the air, like a monkey. Would that get my message across? Maybe I think I am better than people, or above normal conversation. Or maybe the whole thing just bores me.
  • When I write a card to my wife and am tempted to scribble “I am so glad I married you” or “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you”, or quote some cheesy love song, I cringe. Then, I usually end up writing it anyway. Isn’t there a better way? Aren’t I creative enough to be honest, and original at the same time?
  • I feel for my wife, what I feel when I hear the rain start to fall: joy. It happens to be her middle name, Andrea Joy. It is a deep joy that I feel, sturdy, one with grip, with power. It’s a joy that changes me. Whether I am happy, or just having a normal day, or even if I have totally shut down after a horrible night at work, rain brings me back. The rain wakes me, sobers me up; it centers me.
  • I pray to God that my love for my wife will be like that little brick in the building. A century of humble support in one puny cube of fired clay. Maybe only one in a million glance and notice it, but the fidelity, the dependability, is present every minute, noticed or not. The brick just shows up; it’s there. And every minute of every day and night, it does its job rain or shine; just a brick, in a building, a century old.

© Jeff Caldwell


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