|view from our room New Year's morning|
and spent the evening at restaurants, theaters and finally, eating blackberries in our hotel room while we lounged and talked about the year past and the year approaching.
I scratched his head while I thought aloud of the unexpected gifts this year has brought. I thought of how I trembled a year ago when I announced to the world that I had written a story. I thought of how he had been there, so certain of my success that he laughed at my terrors.
And then, because it has been weeks since I've been away from my little girls and able to say all the grown up thoughts in my head, I started to rattle on and on about my current work in progress.
I told him where my characters were, what they were saying, what they just finished doing, what they didn't know they were about to do. I followed all this with an apology because I knew I was talking too much and being boring.
He opened his eyes and told me not to stop. He smiled up at me and said he loved my stories, could listen to me talk about them all day.
Just as I was processing the delighted surprise that those words gave me, he said, "What happened next?"
And I realized that my birthday gift was not a hotel room overlooking an avenue of lit trees and bundled shoppers.
It was not a gourmet meal where my shoe pressed up to his under a white table.
It was not the stack of eight new history books that all look so delicious I can hardly stand to start one because it will mean putting the others aside for another week.
It was two brown eyes looking up at me, seeing more in me than I've ever seen in myself, intrigued with the thoughts of my mind and the feelings of my soul, and asking the question, "What happened next?"
It was the wonderful moment when I let my head sink into the down comforter while the sound of rolling suitcases clattered down the hall and I said, "well, next she goes up the stairs...."
The question isn't, "What was my birthday gift?"
The truth is my birthday gift was the question.
|breakfast with the Artist|