Thursday, February 18, 2016

Water Bottles

The mountains did not quake! The earth did not shake! The stars did not fall from the sky! None of the calamities I expected occurred. I don’t know whether to be delighted or disappointed, but I was surprised.

With illogical trepidation, I chose the blue Nalgene bottle yesterday—the bottle always reserved for George. A full minute of careful consideration lapsed before I even opened the cabinet where it stood at solemn attention, as if having received its orders from a more authoritative voice. Dire warnings flooded my thoughts as my fingers reached for the coveted prize. 

“You must not drink from this bottle” was a message so ingrained in my mind that I had convinced myself I should neither look nor touch—except to wash and dry it, of course. I felt like Eve in the garden—without the slithery voice in my ear.

I should never have needed his bottle since I had three of my own! And mostly I didn’t—except when mine were detained at the office or hiding under the seat of my car or sitting on a forgotten window ledge in an upstairs room. It was during times of genuine need I would sneak into the kitchen to borrow his—just for the day.

My surreptitious movements were always discovered. Perhaps that squeaky hinge was the result of intention and not forgetfulness although I usually blamed the boisterousness of the ice. Mysteriously he would appear and announce, “That’s mine.”

Neither logical explanation nor appeals to his heart would dissuade him from his determined stand. I couldn’t use it for the very reason I needed it—water bottles I took from the house lacked proper supervision and did not reappear in timely fashion.

I never fully understood or appreciated his position on this. What happened to the ‘with all my worldly goods’ part of our marriage vow? I did, however, chose to observe the boundary—until yesterday.

In this is love—the decision to respect someone’s desire even when you can’t decide if you are humoring their weaknesses or honoring their wishes.