There are two of us and the sun and a porch swing. The day is sultry, so we sit in the brightness with tall glasses of lemonade to cool our hands, wishing for a breeze to steal the sweat off of our backs.
We both work during the day. I shuttle between laboratory and office from 8 in the morning until 5 at night. You take the truck out at noon. If the workload is normal, you get home at 9 or 10PM, we share a meal, and sleep. Sometimes, though, it is stormy, and things go wrong. We've always left the porch light on at night (it's a bad neighborhood, I know, and only crazy people commit crimes in well-lit places), so you don't know that I leave the light on for you. (Sometimes, on those late nights, I sit out on the porch swing trying to transform myself into a lighthouse. Hasn't worked yet, but that won't stop me from trying.) The weekends are for chores, repairs, and errands. It's a routine.
Today things went a little differently. It was a university holiday, and, having just finished a project, I decided to take advantage of the free time. Your workload was light, (nothing breaks on hot days, or else people are too afflicted with inertia to complain about it), and you came home at five to wait out the remainder of the day.
On a hot day, lemonade will do more for you than a world of air conditioning. Made well, it replenishes the fluids that your sweat glands give up so readily, cools you from the inside out, and provides a point upon which heat-waned attention can be focused.
The trick is finding a balance between tart and sweet. You keep a simple sugar syrup in the house (sugar, water, some fresh mint, heated until all the sugar dissolved, strained and cooled back to room temperature) because you know that plain sugar wouldn't dissolve well, and the first two glasses from the pitcher would be too sour to drink, the last too sweet to be refreshing. You use real lemons, kept at room temperature because you know they produce less juice when cold. You put less water in than you think you need because you know that this drink will be relished, that you will be mesmerized by the light glinting off of the glass and it's contents, and so you take into account the way the ice will melt, the way the two elements will join and form something greater than the sum of their parts.
You know that neither partner will be served alone; both are too harsh for that. Together, they are perfect.
Today I made lemonade.
The luxury of this daylight spent together humbles me. We are both quiet, punctuating our silence with the occasional clink of an ice cube against a tipped glass.
Every day, everything moves fast. Stillness has become so valuable.
I hunch for a while, looking down at my hands, the almost-empty glass. When I straighten my back and look over, I find you watching me.
For the first time in years you are tentative as you reach over and rest your hand over mine, over the glass, over the remains of the ice.
You look me in the eye.
"Darlin'...I love you."
Just like always, I melt into you.
Thank you for the space to fill. Thank you for the inspiration I used to fill it.