It swelled up unexpectedly, these heart flutters, when I saw him at the bottom of the stairs at the light rail station. Standing. In one piece, no brokenness or bruises visible. I ran down the steps as fast as I could and paused in front of him, looking him in the face and rubbing my hands down his arms before wrapping them gingerly around his neck.
“Careful, not too hard,” he whispered in my ear. I loosened my hold but didn’t let go.
“I’m so happy you’re ok... I’m just happy to see you. I love you.” I kissed his arms, his neck, his cheeks.
We hugged no less than five times, more tenderness and embrace than our usual encounters, our everyday comings and goings.
It didn’t really matter, in this moment or any moment after I heard the news of his accident, that our car was totaled. Our one car. Our car with the bent up bumper and black scratches on white paint. Our car with the driver side mirror duct taped and barely hanging on. Our car with the ignition still stripped from when it was almost stolen two months ago. Our car with the layer of gray film covering it. It was our car - my first and only car - I got almost eleven years ago with my dad. It’s been a silent witness to many heartaches, that car, and yet in this moment, I had no emotion but gratitude.
It held up enough to keep him safe from breaking into pieces. It released its two airbags to try and protect him. And in its last great act, the car did its job and gave its all; my husband walked away and the car was towed, never to be seen by us again.
I’m grateful for that car.
I’m grateful to God, who gave us that car and who, even in it being taken away, will provide for us this day and the next, the way he always has.
He came to the light rail station so I could hand my bus pass off to him. He still had work to do, even though his whole body ached with pain. We finally said goodbye and I waved to him going up the escalator until I could see him no more.
In his disappearing from sight, I swallowed a lump in my throat and hot tears stung my eyes. It’s so easy, at times, to feel we have so little. But here in these bare moments, standing toe to toe and cheek to cheek, I know that all I can wrap my arms around is all that really matters, and all that I can’t quantify with a value to an insurance company, the most real and precious of gifts.
Flesh and blood presence. Faith. Hope. Love. Peace in adversity. The grip of divine protection.
I crossed the busy street on an overpass and glanced back at the top of the light rail platform. There he was behind the window in his bright blue vest and brown skin, looking for me, too. And I waved my arm like a crazy person and blew him a kiss and walked sideways staring up at him until the trees obstructed our view, because that’s what you do when you realize, but for the grace of God, this could have turned out vastly different today. I could be uttering wordless thanks, instead, for his promise never to leave me, not even in the darkness.
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