Last night after Damon and I watched a movie he went to turn off the light next to our bed. I could hear his hand practically sizzle as he touched the burning bulb and unscrewed it manually from the lamp stand.
“I can’t believe you will burn your hand instead of getting up and unplugging that thing from the wall!” I grumbled for the hundredth time. Damon lay back and closed his eyes, unperturbed. “It’ll heal” he said languidly.
I sighed and closed my eyes, too. “He’s so crazy!” I thought. I’d run up and down the stairs ten times each night buck naked or do any other physical exertion required rather than unscrew a burning light bulb manually. Why didn’t he just replace that lamp with another that switches on and off properly? I should do this for him, I thought once again, but in the light of day I always forgot. Night would arrive, and I’d watch Damon fry his hand all over again.
As I sifted through these reoccurring thoughts, still and silent there in the dark of our room, a beautiful, Art Deco-type picture appeared against my closed lids. It looked fragmented and made up of shapes, like a stained-glass window. “I see a beautiful vision,” I whispered to Damon excitedly. “These white rectangles are twisting in the air, in the shape of a giant L. All around the rectangles blue dots swirl and glow and dance shyly with one another. In the bottom corner of the L one red flower spins slowly, like a clock.” I described this all in hushed tones, quite taken by the pretty picture. “Now the flower’s tumbling, slowly, slowly, down into the blackness. All the rectangles are floating down as well.” Here I gasped. “Now the white rectangles have turned into a pin wheel. The blue spots have merged into a beautiful chickadee with pointed wings, and the red flower has become its open beak, cawing up towards the few remaining blue stars.” I paused to watch the picture mold and morph. “It’s fading now.” The colors were dying into darkness. “I can barely see any of it now.” I said, sadly. Then, suddenly, “It’s gone.”
Damon lay silent, as he had throughout this random rendering. I kept my eyes shut against the sudden blackness. It was very quiet. At last I said, “What do you see when you close your eyes?” I waited and waited, wondering if Damon was even awake. Then he said, “I think for one brief second I saw the negative imprint of the lightbulb.”
Wow. Major mood killer. After soaking that in for a bit, I said, quite seriously, “I don’t understand how we’re still married.”
I thought to myself, “How do people walk around with such different operating systems? I can see why none of us can coexist peacefully, even with people we like.”
Then Damon said,
“Wait, wait, I see something now. It’s coming. Very faintly, but growing brighter. Small white specks, floating everywhere, like Snow Falling on Cedars.”
I burst out laughing.
“And here are some girls. A whole gaggle of girls. Teenagers, I think, approaching in the snow. They’re holding something warm and round in their hands. It’s some kind of food, or cookie….no,wait…those are Fried Green Tomatoes!”
I sat up now, giggling even harder.
“This group, it’s like a Sisterhood, but one girl’s waving something over her head. They’re blue, like jeans. Those must be the Traveling Pants!”
Damon sounded as excited as I had, previously. I gulped air and hiccupped as he continued.
“They’re going away now.” Damon took on a more serious tone. “The girls are walking away, through the snow, across the Bridges of Madison County.”
Here I applauded. Out loud. And said, “Valiant effort, Damon! A+. You’ve just about earned that marriage badge!”
And with that we both stopped talking and laughing, and besides the occasional hiccup, we closed our eyes and went to sleep. Damon, with a burnt hand, and I, with a renewed optimism for our marriage. Because despite our wildly different operating systems, we still seemed compatible, nineteen years and counting….