When I look at her I see a few extra pounds, a slight sag on one side of her face, the residual effects of a Bell’s Palsy and a few extra facial lines every year. I see someone whose love for life is second only to her love for risky adventure. Most likely, one has fed the other. I see an olive-skinned, brown-eyed, Welsh-born, Canadian-raised girl whose voluptuous curves still captivate and tantalize me. I see a face wiser from pain, hands tougher from hard work, a smile gentler and more thoughtful from raising two complicated, wonderful sons and a brow somehow more relaxed from having weathered innumerable storms, many of them my sorry gift to her.
There is a bite to her wit, at once caustic but ultimately harmless. There is a joy in her step even if that means tripping more than is generally possible for the average human. Her temper is only slightly less intimidating than being robbed at knifepoint but still contains a depth of commitment seldom seen in anyone. Her many foibles could drive a man to drink but the sweetness of her caress makes him want to share some. Her intelligence is often disarming, even challenging, but never pretentious…like mine. Her determination has yet to be matched. I’d pit her against any other puffed up, self-important Goliath of strutted accomplishment. She’d wipe the floor with him and spit on his remains. But her tenderness is surprising given the distance between her hot and cold.
She is real. There is absolutely no bullshit with this staggering woman. Excellent, since she as I, loathe the feigned perfection and careful posturing of the ecclesiastical housewife set. Don’t expect much mercy if religious smoke screen faith is your chosen faith expression. You’ll wither quickly in the shadow of her raw and easy way and run all the way home, the look of shock and dismay still on your blanched face. Good girl, sweetheart. Show ‘em that Christian girls can be punchy and sexy with BBC cheekiness, and still know how to dish out justice and love to the least of these.
Her name is Rae – short, no nonsense, to the point, but sunny as is homophonetically suggested. She has no middle name. She needs none. One name means one of a kind, making it unchangeable to something lesser and untrue or greater and elitist. Daddy insisted, since anything more would muddy the waters for his one and only girl. Their only child. Poor buggers.
She survived, even thrived, at a fundamentalist Christian college for a time and then pounded out a history/geography degree at the University of Calgary. Her love for the then is even greater than her mastery of the now. We share this love for those who have forged the crucible out of which we live our lives. Years later her socio-political views are more in keeping with her hatred of greed and hypocrisy and her love for justice (you do the math.)
Our house is often messy because she’d rather write books, watch a good BBC comedy with me, party with friends, help boys with homework or go hiking in the wild on weekends. Fuck the housework. She owns it, not the other way round. Besides, in her once-lived life, lived is the key word.
She is a lover like no other. She certainly knows her way around a man. This man, thank God, body and soul. She is a passionate and scary and wonderful woman. She is my wife. 25 years worth.
She’s been so worth the effort.