I climbed the stairs to bed, my heart in a million places. Slipping under the covers, I knew truly that my heart was in a single locale: mired deep in a sticky puddle of fear.
Tears came quickly as we started to talk in the quiet dark. Words and tears and shared fears and shared prayers melded together and we both settled deep into comfort. After a space of silence The Len began to sing softly, creating silliness for me as he often does.
‘I love you, you are cute as a bug.’
A moment of hesitation. Hunting for a good rhyme, I knew, so I slipped in my own, ‘I love to hide you under the rug.’
He started. I giggled. Under a rug? he whispered.
I tried again: ‘I love to give your earlobes a tug?’
He snorted. I felt a bubble rising… sweet joy wiping clean the gunk of fear.
‘Your face is more handsome than a Pug’s?’
Laughter then and in response my face lit bright with contentment.
A new line, his: ‘I love you for you are as cute as a button.’
Button? I have to rhyme with button? I squeaked, and jabbed him in the ribs. The bubble was in my throat now, straining to burst, and as I responded with my choice of rhyme it found freedom and dissolved me into giggles.
‘I love you more than I love mutton.’
I could feel him shaking silently and I chortled as he feigned offense. I’m saying I love you more than meat! Surely that’s saying something! I argued, our mirth finding voice and filling the dark.
Jumping at my chance to offer him an impossible rhyme, I added: ‘I love you more than I love my uvula.’
Your turn! I crowed and he breathlessly conceded defeat.
As silence slowly returned and we drifted off to sleep that bubble of sweet, silly joy settled in my heart, seeping into my blood and flooding me with warmth and peace and gratitude. Take that, fear, my heart whispered. Take that.