It was the music pumping through the speakers at the optometrist’s that made me see you clearly for who you are.
The lyrics kept thrumming loud when I was standing there with my thick glasses, waiting for the receptionist.
Waiting there with the Mennonite woman in her netted white bonnet and purple flowers falling down the cotton front of her cape dress.
And Robin Thicke just keeps crooning it on some radio station like he’s Marvin Gaye, like he knows the wants of women.
And I’m sitting beside a Mennonite woman, us both bespectacled and motherly rounded, and I shift awkward in my chair when the song hits it grinding refrain, and there are men like you who know a woman wants a love that respects.
There are men who wear old Wranglers and drive rusting mini-vans to pick up the kids after piano lessons.
And pick up broccoli because it’s on sale this week.
And who stop those matronly vans to pick a bunch of the wild Black-eyed Susans growing in the ditch across from the township dump.
And they feel no shame bringing the tattered, untamed petals home for the woman they vowed their focus to.
Don’t ever think there isn’t something wild and untamed about this.
There’s a world that wants to force women into smothering plastic molds and whisper that she wants to be a shape and not free.
There’s a relentless refrain that wants to cage women into polished skin, into glossy boxes, into cheap ornaments and tell her that she really wants this, they know she really wants this.
There’s this beat that beats up women… and you can tell the real men from the immature boys: Real manhood never objectifies women but edifies women.
Real men actually ask women what they want.
Real men hear what women really want is for their words and ideas and dreams to carry more weight than numbers on a scale.
Real men hear what women really want is for their souls to be appreciated, not their skin to be assessed.
Real men like you adore women with Einstein-hair early on Friday morning, think nothing of finding the toilet plunger and braving the back mudroom washroom, real men like you make pancakes on Saturday morning and know that sharing a vowed life is the wildest affair of all.
True love isn’t found.
Carved out of sacrifice. Carved out of covenant. Carved out of two dying to the loneliness of self to be made into one.
You and I, we could let our feet find each other’s under the cotton sheets and we could carve into forever together.
Before there is no more me here, before there’s no more you here —
we could let the rest be carved away until there’s only the glory of a wrinkled love left.
After the optometrist’s, when I came home and stood at the sink heavy with the day’s pots, and you came in the back door grinning with that handful of Black-eyed Susans that you’d picked right from the ditch?
You had grinned embarrassed:
“They’re a bit tattered though.”
And I’d touched the tattered petals. And smiled silly and unashamed at you standing there in that tattered shirt, us growing older in a life that’s carving us down — and I could see then, see it clear straight through and there are no blurred lines here.
The days can all tatter and you and I, we know what we want:
A love that keeps carrying on into the real loveliest.