Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Tag: wife

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

Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid

I forgot it was Valentine’s Day. Did you? Did you get in trouble for it?

I didn’t.

I forget about a lot of special days. I didn’t always. But now I do. And I think I’m starting to understand why.

There are three main days that will earn a man a harsh reproof if he forgets them. Birthdays, Anniversaries and Valentine’s Day. Most men will start nodding now and remember the chastisement they received last time they forgot one of these days. But, when it comes down to it, most men forget these days far less often than I do.

These days serve as pegs on the calendar. Reminders of our duty to affection and mutual comfort. And, without these days, I guess a lot of couples would go through the year living more as roommates than lovers. So it makes sense that men are punished for forgetting these days.

But I can’t remember them. And I’ll tell you why.

My wife bursts with affection. Not sometimes. Not occasionally. All the time. She oozes with it. She couldn’t hide it if she tried. And her wild affection and love and empathy with me expresses itself in ways that boggle the mind. So, instead of making some ham-handed list of what I love about Ruth (as if my love for her was conditional on anything) I’m going to share a wild list of the ways that Ruth displays her love. And that may be what I love the most.

  • She hugs every chance she gets. When I leave. When I get home. When we sleep. When we’re walking. When we’re sitting. She’s gotta touch.
  • She tries to like everything I like. And she tries hard. She tries so hard that she’s the only girl I know who likes anime, video games, paper-and-dice RPGs, and action/sci-fi/horror films. She can’t like everything I like, but she’ll try her best because everything she takes on is one more thing we have in common.
  • Her affection does not change. When we disagree on politics and religion, her affection stays the same. When we are ill or tired, her affection is the same. When the kids are going crazy and the house feels like an asylum, she will still take a moment to sit on the couch and get/receive affection.
  • She says nice things about me. An ego-boost to be sure. And proof that I am on her mind. Sometimes I feel like I’m her favorite movie – she just can’t stop talking about me!
  • She takes offenses against me as worth approximately 3.67x greater than offenses against herself. It’s easy, you see, for her to forgive when people wrong her. But should someone dare to wrong me, be warned!
  • She refuses to let me go to work without food. This is interesting, because there is usually food at work that I’m free to eat. Decent food, too. But that’s not good enough for Ruth! If her husband is going to eat, he’s going to eat well!
  • She empathizes.
  • She dances with me, whether people are watching or not.
  • She lets me be a silly, unconventional, bombastic, slightly-more-than-slighty-unstable person.
  • She laughs at me when I want her to laugh at me. She comforts me when I want to be comforted. She holds me when I want to be held.

So, on this popular day of affection and hand-holding, I am happy. Not because I have a chance to get some special affection. But because I get Valentine’s Day-worth affection every day. So it’s no wonder I forget this day every year.

See ya soon, Ruth.