I was scrubbing the mirrors when I locked eyes with myself, catching a glimpse of the woman in the mirror. I had a cleaning spray in one hand, a dirty rag in the other; my hair was up in an unattractive ponytail and I was wearing household clothes. The glimpse was fleeting but powerful. Powerful because it broke my heart, for awhile. I couldn't believe it, that I was spending my mornings this way. While others get to work, power through meetings, and fill up their resumes.
And then you came out of the bathroom, looking all shaven and clean, and said, 'Here. Let me take out the trash.' I didn't smile, but my heart did.
I look at this photo of us, taken exactly five months ago, when you swapped the kitschy tradition of throwing the garter with something undeniably more meaningful, the washing of my feet. I remember the moment that happened exactly a year before that when you went down on your knee, asking if you could take care of me for the rest of our lives. And then all our days together go through my head, especially the days when you would choose to kneel for me, put us first.
Some will mention your trip to London, your New York cookies surprise, your Valentine's extravaganza. Yes, those grand things were amazing but it's the details and delicacies that go above and beyond.
Remember when I woke up in the middle of the night, turned to you, and hugged you? Surprisingly, you were awake, and whispered to me, 'I love you, buddy. Let's go to Heaven together.' I hugged you tighter. Or remember when I was on my laptop, you pulled me aside, and you said, 'Let's dream of our future children now. How they will look like. What will they be like.' I didn't admit it but I teared up, completely happy. Or how about when I opened the door to you as you came home from work? You immediately dropped your stuff and hugged me right then and there and said, 'I missed you today.' My heart was full. And then while I was having a photoshoot for the blog, I looked to the side and saw you, carrying all my stuff, with a smile on your face.
Those moments came back to me as I was scrubbing the mirror and realized: If I didn't choose this, I wouldn't have these moments, these stories to tell. They were just like that glimpse I had of myself that morning: fleeting but powerful. Powerful because it brought me back to us. Sometimes I wish I were doing something else, fulfilling my old ambitions and saving the world. That will be a struggle I will always wrestle with. But if I used to dream of standing tall and proud with the world in my hands, clutching my goals ever so close to me, I now find myself in another position: kneeling side by side with you, and being completely and deeply loved by you. Handsome, patient, glorious, annoying, naïve, wonderful you.
Now, isn't that something to be remarkably thankful for?
Photography by Toto Villaruel.