Last night I was sitting in The Green Room, wasting time on the computer, as I am wont to do (I know you're suprised) and Mr. Peevie came in. He said, with a serious expression on his face, "I have something to say to you." He looked around. "Here, let me sit down," he said ominously.
My stomach flapjacked, and my heart Titanicked. "Is it bad?" I worried. "Did something bad happen? Did I do something bad?" (My vocabulary shrinks in the face of fear.) Nobody follows "I have something to tell you" with "I better sit down" unless it's difficult to say, right? And bad news is tough to deliver. It was only a brief moment, but I can still feel the dread on my neck.
"No, not at all," Mr. Peevie quickly reassured me. "It's good."
Whew. Then why all the seriousness? I wondered. Why the sitting down? Why the formality?
And then came one of the sweetest, tenderest moments of my 23.75 years of married life.
"I thought about sending you an email today to tell you this," Mr. P said, "but it just didn't happen, and it didn't seem like the best way to say it."
Now I'm thinking, oooh, he bought me a present! He bought me a really great present that I'm going to love, and it's being shipped, and he's going to tell me about it! Because that's how my mind works. But it wasn't a present. Actually, it was better than a present--which, coming from me, the queen of loving to get presents, is shocking.
Mr. Peevie leaned forward and looked into my eyes. "I just want to tell you," he said, "that you are always building up my self-esteem, always telling your friends how wonderful I am, and telling stories that put me in a good light. I want you to know that I wouldn't be half the man I am without you."
By this time, the tears are totally rolling right down my cheeks. But there was more.
"I never had very good self-esteem until I met you. I wasn't a very good communicator, and I especially wasn't very good at expressing my feelings. But you have taught me those things, and you appreciate the things I'm good at."
I kept on leaking salty tears, and he kept on talking. "I'm glad I didn't try to put this into an email," Mr. Peevie continued. "It's better in person. I want to look right at you and tell you how much I love you, and how much I appreciate you, and what you mean to me. You make me a better person."
I don't even have words to tell you what a gift that was to me. I hugged Mr. Peevie and left tear-marks his sleeve. "Too much credit," I said, but he just hugged me harder.
Anne Lamott said in Grace, Eventually, "A good marriage is supposed to be one where each spouse secretly thinks he or she got the better deal"--and the only point I'd contest is that it's no secret.