Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Tag: ruth

Hey Ruth

Hey Ruth.

It felt weird right when you and the boys slipped out of sight in the terminal. I looked down at Asha and she looked up at me. She felt it to. We decided the best way to deal with the weirdness was to go home and play video games. I might have fed her chips for dinner. But we had rice for desert, so that balances things out.

The house was quiet when she went to bed. No sounds except the humming of the heater. And the cars going up and down Bloor. And the karaoke party next door. Very quiet for Toronto. I’d be sitting on the floor talking with you right now, if you were here. I’m trying to think of what we’d be talking about. Or would we be finally beating Act II in Diablo? Or sipping wine to scratchy vinyls? Or furiously doing dishes and making lunches for tomorrow so we can collapse in bed sometime before midnight? Whatever we’d be doing, it would have been fun, eh?

I bet you’re beat right now. Urdu meh suffar hai, aur angrezi meh bhi suffer hai, na? Someone at the karaoke party just started belting out A Whole New World. I like the part where Jasmine is getting overwhelmed with the magic carpet right and Aladdin says,

Don’t you dare close your eyes.

Hold your breath, it gets better.

Have a strong first day of your trip, Ruth. I’ll say Hey again tomorrow.

Eighth Year

     The problem with expressing sentiment, especially romantic sentiment, is that it can so easily seem trite. Most folks wander on to Facebook on their anniversary, armed with dozens of exclamation points, and throw down one of many packaged statements about how happy they are that they married whoever they married. Everyone does it. And that’s what makes me approach this subject with trepidation.
     You see, my marriage is better than everyone else’s.
     I know, I know, that sounds arrogant and maybe even a bit offensive. But I really believe it. You know all those things that married people fight about? Money, sex, kids, events, family. We don’t. Like, ever.
     And you know how married people can’t wait to get away from each other and do the guy’s night out and the girl’s night out? We don’t really understand that.
     And you know how they say that your first year is the honeymoon and it all goes downhill from there? Well, to be completely frank and honest, that’s just bullshit. I have no other word for that destructive idea and if you ever find yourself uttering it, please jam your foot deep inside your mouth.
     Sure, I have problems in my life, just like everyone else. But my wife isn’t one of them. But how can I express that without blending into the crowds of people who can hardly stand their spouses most of the time but give them lip service on special days of the year?
     Maybe I can’t. Maybe there’s no way to sound unique and special. And, in the end, that’s fine.
     Because the second month of marriage to Ruth was better than the first. And the third was better than the second. And the ninety-fifth was better than the ninety-fourth. So every month seems to be the best month of my life. And that’s pretty cool. I may die of happy soon, and I can’t think of a better way to go.
     So here’s to you, Ruth. Here’s to the love we feast upon and the luminescent beings we are evolving into together. The ride’s been great so far and I feel like we have hardly even started yet. May our love continue to cast out all fear. May our hope always endure. May our faith in each other and in this radiant Universe in which the mystery of love happens grow and flourish.

For When She Wakes

My wife is asleep right now, in Pakistan. When she wakes up, it will be our anniversary.

She’s been gone a week or two. I can’t really tell, truth be told. Living without her is like living on night-shifts. I can’t really gauge the passing of time well. So here I am doing night shifts and away from her. So, yeah, I hardly can tell what day it is.

What can I say about Ruth this year? What can I say about where we’ve come and where we are?

I never could understand poets and story-tellers who would compare their lovers to gods. I could never understand that idea of worshipping a spouse. It was distasteful. Worse, it seemed forced. Because, since I did not understand it, I assumed it was not nearly as real as they were making it out to be. Because any spouse, at best, is flawed. And how can you worship something that is flawed?

But I get it today.

Ruth, are you there? Are you awake yet, my beloved Devi?

I love you.

I offer my life and my heart as a sacrifice to you. I do not say any of this out of ‘oughtness’ or duty. No. My heart yearns for you, even when you are with me.

When you are away, I have trouble finding the point for anything I do. I try to write and my mind whispers ‘What is the point? Your Devi is away.’ I try to study and my mind whispers ‘What is the point? Your Devi is away.’ Suddenly I understand in what way you are my muse! The muse does not grant ideas and creativity. Those things are already in each of us. No. The muse shows the importance of those things. And you, Devi, are my muse.

What can I say? I look back over all the years that I have called you ‘wife’. And here I stand on the tallest mountain of love I have ever seen. It makes all the other years look like bumps and hills.

What can I say?

Remember when we used to joke that we were Sita and Ram? We are not really like that, because Ram drove Sita out in the end, because he felt his responsibilities as king demanded it. A kingdom is not worth as much as you to me.

Or when we joked that we were Layla and Mujnun? We are not like that, either. Because Majnun gave up when Layla’s father refused him. I would have never relented.

Or when we joked that we we Romeo and Juliet? We are not like them. Because our story is not a tragedy.

Who are we?

We are Matt and Ruth. We are the greatest love story the world has ever seen. Other readers may roll their eyes and think I exaggerate. But you know. I know. We have the sort of love that stories are made of. And that is the truth. That is the truth.

See you soon, Devi.

In kadmon mein saansein waar de
Rab se zyaada tujhe pyaar de
Rab mainu maaf kare
Rabba khairiya, haai mainu maaf kare