We walk hand-in-hand down the cobbled sidewalk, waiting for the sky to open up and cleanse us from this sticky closeness. We have one hour, maybe two. A time too short. A time too long.
First we carried a month's collection of awkward boxes and newspapers down the street to the neat grid of shining dumpsters. He laughed as I carefully re-arranged the cardboard, like the German I am not, correcting his careless, immodest jumble.
"Other people need room for their recycling too" I chide as I work the bin like a puzzle.
"But sweetheart, look at all the other empty dumpsters."
I look and eight silver gaping mouths mock me too. Sometimes I'm careful. Always intentional, or so I'd like to think. But like the careless laugh he just threw at me over his shoulder, he lets things go easily, tosses something and forgets it. Like this date night. It's time quickly passed, almost thrown away. I want to pack it all in, make each moment special and to measure up perfectly against all of the other moments. He just wants to be casual, just to hang out, to toss words here and there and let them lay where they land.
But when I glance at him, his eyes are smiling, not mocking.
"Baby, you are just too good for this world."
Oh . . . He likes my eccentricities. That is why he laughs. He's not usually one for poetry. But his words mean more to me because they tumble out in that impromptu way.
Along with the trash, we have cleared something else away. Nothing to carry, hands joined, down the cobbled sidewalk, under sky, just before rain, we pass a blonde pair of teenage girls giggling on their bicycles. One calls out in German, "Was für ein süßes junges Ehepaar!" ("What a sweet young married couple!")
We look at each other and laugh almost nervously. After seven years and now with two children, do we really still look sweet and young and in love? Maybe there's not as much distance between us as it sometimes seems. And maybe if I would stop trying to pack so many things so tightly into this space I could simply enjoy walking beside him. Enjoy holding his hand directly, instead of through the usual extension of four very small and very sweet but sometimes very all-consuming hands. Enjoy the words. Enjoy the silences.
The raindrops begin to scatter as we pass the fountain and we are ready for the coziness of our umbrella.
Water upon water, it is an overflow.
Joining . . .