OP: a little love story...

As a man raised as a gentleman it's hard to admit I tear up at church every week, watching this little old couple.

Every Sunday, in walks this little old couple, all bent over with canes. She looks like every grandma from children's stories, with her snow white hair pulled back in a bun, and he looks like Santa Clause's thinner dad, no hair on top but scraggly white hair around the sides, and a long white beard. They always have the same style outfits on every week, simple dress for her, and striped button down shirt with red suspenders for him. They always sit in the same little pew. When they are absent it stays empty.

I sit all the way across the church from them, and I have no idea who they are, but I've assumed much about them and their relationship. What gets me every time is so simple really. He is completely deaf. I'm guessing he's been deaf for quite some time. He doesn't pay attention at all to the mass, he's watching his wife sign the entire mass; readings, homily, songs, everything. His entire faith, and quite possibly most of his interaction with the world, rests in the careful gestures of her hands. I find it so captivating that I watch her hands the whole mass as well. To the point that I'm starting to recognize patterns and how they match what I'm hearing.

What really stuck in my mind was one day he wasn't there with her. (Naturally at their age I was thinking "oh no!!" but next week he was back.) What happened really affected me. As she sat there alone she still sat cocked to one side where her husband would have been sitting, and just out of habit she signed the whole mass even in his absence.

To me that's what love and marriage is all about. To share a part of your life with someone to the point that your are intertwined, and the individuals are lost.


Posted: 05 Oct 23:25


No. I disagree. It remains necessary for two to remain two. We each have flaws and virtues - hopefully your flaws are countered by his virtues and his flaws are countered by your virtues so while the two do NOT become one - they can work harmoniously as a TEAM. Each bearing their fair share of the burden of marriage in cooperation with their spouse.

When the two become one - usually one person has to subordinate their self to their spouse. This creates an inbalance in the team itself with one bearing more of the burdens. In time this causes rebellion. Men going off the reservation. Women eating themselves into a size 32 - whatever. All hell breaks loose. The marriage wrecks.

There is no harmony of one.


Posted: 05 Oct 23:26

Firmus, that is a very cute story. And very well written too. If you're not doing something with that skill already, you really should! :)

But I agree with EEK that individuals should remain visible in a relationship; they should not be lost. It should be an harmoniously functioning unity. Personally, I find the yin-yang-symbol quite appropriate. You fit together just right, you will even integrate bits of the other into yourself. And as in every relationship; either part will have their own strengths and weaknesses and their moments of need. At one time you may be carrying the other, whereas at another time the other may be keeping you from falling. But "you" remains "you". It doesn't become an infinite gray swirl.

As cute and as loving as I find it, there is a certain sadness to this story. He may be hearing the world through her hands. But he can still see it, feel it, smell it, taste it. Perhaps he has forgotten that he can. Does she still remember how she can let the words flow in and enjoy them quietly inside herself, instead of forcing them back out?


Posted: 05 Oct 23:26

Oh I know, it is a sad story! Probably why get all misty just watching them. And a gigantic thank you RR, you have no idea how much I'd love to be a writer, and how much that comment meant to me. It's just intimidating to start out, baring your mind and heart, and waiting for someone to say "that's crap!" :)

For this story, I think it's the lack of details, as there's so much we can interject into it from our own experiences. I have never seen the couple anywhere else, other than that pew. For all I know they may be brother and sister. That'd sure put an odd spin to my story. :) It'd be interesting to have everyone see this same situation, and express out how they interpret it, and read how everyone would see it differently.

As for the loss of individuality, I think I was trying too hard to be prosy. All I was intending to mean is like say when you go to dinner and you see 2 people at a table, you can instantly tell if it's a couple, or just friends/acquaintances. There's just those subtle queues in how they interact.

In the labeling department of my mind, they lose their "man and woman" status, and are given the name "couple".


Posted: 05 Oct 23:26

I can think of two possible reasons she still signed that day: A-simple habit, B-she gets more out of it herself that way. People who sign as much as she must, I'm sure find themselves thinking in ASL at times, just as people who are fluent in a foreign language sometimes find themselves thinking in that language. And, music gains this degree of extra aesthetic power when it's signed. First time I saw the National Anthem signed, when I was in grade school, I cried. These days I periodically sign songs for the church service. There are a few songs I love so much I catch myself signing them to myself in the audience. There's a Good Friday song that I've signed a couple of times, that always wears me out emotionally, to a point where I can only run through it in practice about twice at a time.

As for individuality, I think you can obtain the name "couple" without losing the titles "man and woman". Think of the Unity Candle portion of a wedding. Some blow out the tapers to signify a complete giving over of the self to the relationship. In mine, we left the tapers lit to signify the maintenance of our respective individuality while also moving forward into this new partnership of life.

I have long believed that in any life partnership, while there are most certainly items that become "we" things, there must be aspects of the self that were there before the relationship started, and will remain when it ends. For T, it's golf. I made him take me to the driving range once, to teach me grip-stance-swing, because I wanted to learn something about the game around which he built his career--he manages a club house and owns its pro-shop. Once in a while I'll ask him about Tiger or whoever's making headlines that day, but I haven't picked up a club since, other than at a mini golf course. For me, it's church. I'm very active, I wear 5 or 6 hats at my tiny church and have actually developed a "ladies afternoon" phenomenon from it. His family quit going when he was about 8 because with three kids, they were growing and getting busier and the something that gave was church. He gives me rides to functions when I can't orchestrate them with anyone else, but due to his lack of interest and the fact that in golf, Sunday is your bread and butter, he'd just as soon not be involved himself. Those kinds of things are vital to maintaining one's sense of self.


Posted: 05 Oct 23:26

Firmus - you should write. Write and fear not. I write and publish my stuff and some people actually buy my books and read them!?!?! Amazing!!

Here's an example:

the opening of It Speaks to Me of Love

The Christmas gift I had sent to a friend had been returned to me. Fifty years of age, I’m sitting at the kitchen table staring at the package, at that one word scrawled, scrawled as if it didn’t matter across Eugenia’s name and address, contemptuously erasing her, that one terrible word: deceased.

And I thought “I never had the chance...” To do what precisely? To call and remind her that she’s not alone? That would have been a lie. In the end, she had been alone. Her husband had found her when he came home from work. I had called him but found myself with nothing much to say. Condolences were all I could offer. They seemed inadequate. He was so deadpan, all I could feel was rage. So I said goodbye…for the last time.

Why do some women survive while others do not?

Here I sit at my kitchen table, ignoring the delicious aroma of the soup bubbling on the stovetop, tears in my eyes as I try to explain to myself the inexplicable. Fifty years of age, at my kitchen table, I, who once looked forward with eager delight, now looked forward knowing what was to come. The great dying off of friends, those who still remembered, had begun.

soon to be published.


Posted: 05 Oct 23:26

You're welcome Firmus. And please; do start writing! :)

I can imagine your fear, though. I have been writing poetry all my life; before I could even write it down ;) And though sadly a lot of my poems have been lost over the years, there is quite a stash of them. Be it scattered across the house in several notebooks, computer files and random pieces of paper. Several people have told me it's really good. But I've never had the guts to go to a publisher. These are words that have found their harmonious flow on the waves of my emotions. And for some reason I can't bring something that personal to meet the eyes of the critics. I would even have a hard time sorting out those that are "worthy" by myself. Maybe in time.

EEK, congratulations! :) It has caught my attention several times how you have a beautiful way of finding the right words. Great that your work is being published!


Posted: 05 Oct 23:26

What have you always dreamed your life could be? Write about how that would work.


Imagine you'd lost your wife. Write that. How would you feel? What would your life be like?


Tell the story.


Posted: 05 Oct 23:26

let me tell you something i saw on a music video today. I was sitting with my mother biological, but we were listening to inspirational music balling our eyes out because it hit us so close to home. We watched carrie underwoods-jesus take the wheel music video and man we cud not see the screen. You know how they put different characters in a video to tell the story, well there was this old couple basically the old man was trying to feed his wife which was deadless and all he could do was cry, and when i looked over to my mom she said it reminds her of what my dad and mom is and how much love they have together. My parents divorced when i was 7 yrs of age, and i was taken from then two yrs later. Now they remarried and decided that god is their everything and to be an example to their children which is me and my older sister. just to see that old man cry made me swell up in tears to see that their love was so strong even though the woman was lifeless sitting in her bed. firmus i write poetry because the emotions that i feel from my history of pain cannot be said out loud. You should follow your heart and write because that is a gift that was given to you. I may be young but the love of marriage is so strong when i look at my own parents. My parents are so intertwined with each other and their children that they know if the other person is in danger or hurt. When my dad is gone she prays as if he still with her because they always pray together. My parents are young in heart even spiritually with the lord but Ive seen such a difference than 6 yrs ago when they neglected me and my sister and abused us. that is such a beautiful but deep story.


Posted: 05 Oct 23:26

Some people write based upon their own experiences and sometimes; that's really just all they need. Many will draw from their own experiences, but change or get it out of proportion only to reconnect this to other experiences that may be true, exaggerated or altered in name, time and/or place or simply completely made up. You can chose yourself whether this story should be perceived as "real" or not.

As a nice example; I personally much liked seeing the movie De vierde man (the fourth man) that is based on the book of Gerard Reve and o so coincidentally his main character in the book is Gerard who is even more so coincidentally: a writer ;) This main character is invited to give a speech and he decides to tell his audience a story. And I can't remember the details, but he tells of this gigantic man that was found dead in the train-station the moment he arrived there. A man so big he didn't fit in the hearse. But in fact he has just drastically altered the truth from the simple experience of a hearse driving by as he left the station. Because that's his job as a writer; making the ordinary extraordinary and otherwise meaningless experiences worthwhile :) The fun of the movie and the book itself is that in the end neither the main character nor the viewer/reader knows what's "real" anymore. Now I wouldn't suggest to let it come to that as a writer -should the writer be referring to his own perception of reality that is off course- but you get the idea ;)


Posted: 05 Oct 23:26

A wonderful story.
Maybe when Im older, I will agree with the story, but until then, I say a couple should never lose themselves


Posted: 05 Oct 23:26

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