The fire’s crackling. We’re 64 and 62 respectively. The snow is soft, and we’re just here. All walls down. All hands resting. All hearts at peace.
The silence that we’ve known for nearly 40 years now is welcome here. It’s a language we speak well. My mind shoots back to a night in the solarium. You with those dumb headphones on, and adding comments to my tired self trying to speak. I’ve always been the youngest one, and never had anyone who looked up to me to grow up with. But, we grew up there. Our eyes always said the most when it came down to what we needed to say to each other. It’s no different now. When we needed someone to just sit and whisper something with their existence, and when we wanted to be alone, and when we needed someone to say the thing that wasn’t what we wanted to hear, but always what we wanted to hear, that’s what we were for. It’s the same. But some things are so different. You’re more alive than you were then. You’ve shared words and been ripped apart. You’ve watched people die and people live not in the earthly sense, but that too. You carry yourself confidently, and you are so captivated by a Jesus that the world hasn’t even heard the voice of, to a point that you cannot even bear the idea of saying “no” to Him.
I laugh. I mean it. You laugh. You mean it.
A sparkle almost flows from all the things that move out in understanding around us. Wherever two or more of you are gathered, Jesus is. Yeah, that’s this.
The night passes, with the conversation moving from adventures to lines of people that we don’t even need to finish the names of to understand what is being spoken about. And, I realize why you changed my life again. Over and over again, people told me that they wanted to be with me and I didn’t understand why. But the day I shook your hand, I realized that I wasn’t alone. You understand so much more than you’ll let yourself. You’re so much bolder than you know.
And, my eyes, teary at this point sparkle in the firelight as you say to me: “Just say it,” not even looking at me.
“Thank you, for letting me watch you become.”
That’s what I see every day. You becoming all that you should be. You realizing the hope that’s alive in you.
That real love isn’t even ours. That real love drips blood of white, and keeps us together forever.
I love you.
…because love wins.