This is (still) the weekend of fall break at UT, which means I planned a camping trip at Max Patch.  Daydreaming for two weeks of walking up the dark hill with sleeping bags, tent, pillows, coffee press, Milky Way, the long cool winds, glowing city below — and of course waking up on the hill, in the fresh sky, slightly sore and fully reborn.  When we realized after some angst on my part that it was indeed going to be too wet and too cold (obliged to Josh), I did some calculating.  So, if we let this trip be postponed for a second time, will it ever happen?  If we don’t camp this weekend, will we turn into fossils where we sit on the couch, or what?  Maybe this is the threshold of our dusty, passionless, duty-filled marriage / rest-of-our-life?  Long weeks of school bend me this way.

Therefore.  Like magic, we are turned back on.  Mostly because Marshall says Let’s drive to Clinch Mountain and watch the sunrise in the morning; let’s set up the tent in the living room tonight and open the windows; let’s watch that Amelie movie; and let’s go to I Love NY Pizza for some pizza.

I can’t believe Marshall had never seen Amelie.  I can’t believe I hadn’t watched it in years.  Odd how involved my heart is with this movie.  It’s a brief, sketchy portrait of the timid person (especially the timid girl) or a small and gentle rebuke to her.  I am one of these timid girls, and understood the rebuke even I think the first time I saw it, which was (I think) in Erin’s dorm room at college.  I had never met another human being like myself, before, didn’t know whether I should ever really consider leaving my fifth-floor apartment in Montmartre.  I’m not sure I knew I lived in a fifth-floor apartment in Montmartre till I saw the story of Amelie’s rebirth.  Or epiphany, or decision.

But when Dufayel tells Amelie under what conditions her heart will become as dry and brittle as his bones, I understood that at some point, I would need to change my life.  Soon, I would need to find courage.  And it wasn’t until today that I realized, or remembered, that I have changed my life and found courage — I chose Marshall, marriage, school, year 23 of Anna Laura’s life, year 24, 25, 26.  This is one of those full-circle moments.  It’s hard to describe the stillness and courage filling me right now.

The fact that Marshall loved Amelie, understood (as a kindred spirit must), wants to go to France, is so great.  The fact that he set up the tent while I ran to the bathroom to cut myself some bangs (why did I ever grow them out!), that he realized with a shock that he needed to watch the Florida Alabama game and unclipped the tent canopy so he could see the tv, apologizing very seriously, and after a few minutes disappeared into the kitchen and brought out bowls of vanilla ice cream, these facts are a love sum.  The exhaustion of these past two months have lost all their sting, tonight.

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