Monday, May 28, 2012

Where the germans are

We're in the bathroom, me and my husband of one month, brushing our teeth.  It's still so new, this experience of sharing a home and life with him, and even this menial act of cepillado los dientes is fascinating.  So I watch him in the mirror that stretches across one whole wall of our walk-in closet sized bathroom, a look of deep concentration furrowed in his brow.  And then, he says to me, "Don't forget to brush your tongue."

I smile back at him in the mirror with my mouth full of vibrating Sonicare brush.   

He persists with intense sincerity, "I'm serious," inserts a pause for effect. "That's where all the germans are."  

He says it so innocently, with a hint of the conspiratorial.  I spit toothpaste and barely contained laughter.  "Really?  All the germans, huh?"  He stares at me with a tentative smile, the growing realization that what he said didn't come out quite as he intended.  "Yes, the germans," now fixing me with a fake frown and sticking out his tongue in the mirror.   

And I love him all the more.  

One day, if we're given the opportunity to live in Mexico, I know he'll be blessed by similar experiences in reverse.  Me, spitting out Spanish with a flair of my own grammar.  These moments add such flavor to life together - this daily blending of cultures and languages and grammar - some humorous, others more serious, all full and rich and ripe for the learning.   We are each other's teacher and student, and this, I see, is one of the most precious and self-challenging aspects of marriage.  

We lay in bed and it is hot.  Literally.   The box fan we bought at a local flea market for five dollars is purring below the open window, and the bed is a tangled web of rejected comforter, sheets, and pillow for my cast to rest on.  Me, the one perpetually cold, now fluctuating between sweat and chill, while Ricardo the Perpetual Furnace wraps himself in a red fleecy blanket atop our covers in attempt to keep warm.  This cast of mine raises my body temperature at least five degrees, and each night I fight in half- wakefulness the demon covers and various sleeping positions in attempt to find rest.  

This night, in particular, I add a soundtrack to my fighting and fussing.  Grunts and groans and whimpers and moans.  An all-out- middle-of-the-night-sleep-tantrum.  Throwing off blankets, kicking off sheet, tossing foot pillow onto the floor, flipping left to right in a bouncing rage.  Unbeknownst to me, Ricardo lays still beside me, curled up in silence, biting back laughter.  When a few minutes of calm and stillness have passed on my side of the bed, he gently and bravely inches toward me, reaches a hand to my back and rubs.  The next morning, he asks, "Were you like this in your sleep as a child?" 

"No," I grimace.  "I'm pretty sure I was more mature then."

We laugh hard.

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