Here’s the funny thing about time, for us.
We weren’t given a lot from the gate, or at least, it hadn’t seemed like it.
As a new bride, I was determined to make the most of what could perhaps be a short marriage. We packed sweaters and books into Rubbermaid bins, stuffed our pillows in trash bags. We sealed cardboard boxes marked ‘KITCHEN, OPEN FIRST.’
We drove out to Los Angeles to settle in for a life well lived.
I’d promised myself I wouldn’t bicker about the small things. I’d promised myself I’d keep things in perspective, that I’d honor the borrowed time we were given.
But somewhere in Arizona in a sun-beaten rest area, he unknowingly ate the last of my aunt’s homemade “Happy Moving Day” brownies and well, I left my bickering rule in the garbage next to the crumpled up foil, the fudge crumbs.
I’m often asked what my reaction was to Ken’s tumor diagnosis. I wrote a lot about this in my book, and the truth is simple: life has a way of distracting you from these things.
I’d fallen in love with Ken, not Ken With A Tumor, so the choice to marry him was easy. And the things that were hard were the things that were hard for all newlyweds: When will she clean her toothpaste stains in the sink? Why does he put milk in the eggs? And what? He doesn’t like mac and cheese from the blue box?!
The things that were easy were everything else.
It will be eleven years this fall. Eleven years ago, I said yes to marriage. To the time we were given. To ambiguity, to the questions, to the doubts.
To the fears.
“Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.” ―Patti Smith
I suppose then, the answer is no. I don’t often think about how much time Ken has, or how much time I have for that matter. Mostly, I’m just reminding myself to keep the toothpaste stains off the sink.
Is God round? Bee asks one night as Ken tends to the garden, as she swings in the hammock.
I think that’s a very good question, I say. What do you think?
I think, yes, she says, stretching out. But could he also be a triangle?
I think, yes, I say.
I often spend days sorting out my mind, making sense of ambiguities, generating wild, complex theories about how the world works, how life goes, how love feels.
And when I can’t tame this life, when I can’t figure it out, I question why.
Are you round, God?
Are you a triangle?
I can’t see you.
What shape am I looking for?
Mostly, I forget to be grateful.
Mostly, I forget that life is magic.
That the answers aren’t to be hunted down, aren’t meant to be found in shapes, in secrets, in adding up our years around the sun.
Are you a triangle?
In subtracting the ones we didn’t get.
We don’t get to make sense of the time we’re given.
We’re given it.
Today, that is enough.