I've mentioned here before that I remember looking in a warm afterglow at the prayer flags he'd hung in his bedroom and knowing I was falling for him in a real way. Another one of those little moments that whispered, this is serious love, is seeing that he owned a poetry anthology that I also have. My copy has (shockingly to no one at all) long since been lost, but I knew exactly where his was.
I recently learned a little book trick that I should have known but had never occurred to me: if you set up a book vertically and allow the pages to splay as they will, it will show you the most frequently read pages. Shane's copy opened immediately to a place so well traveled the spine is visibly damaged. It's also dog-eared. And that's a funny thing: Long ago I'd have considered the folding of a page to be such sacrilege; although I've always made underlines and circles and margin notes with abandon. My feelings on living in a paper book have evolved and I've slowly loosened up to fold down a few corners as I discover favorite passages.
Shane's copy shows a love of the most classic and endearing love poem, to my mind, outside of Shakespeare's own sonnets. I am certain I remember his reciting or reading it to me all those (now fourteen, for of course the falling in love happened well before the wedding ceremony) years ago, though the time has stretched long enough I'm not sure I haven't invented the memory.
That's the beauty of eleven or fourteen years, those blurred edges and the romance of that soft-focus of my recollections.
Happy anniversary, my beloved. This year is easily the happiest in our maturing marriage since these giddy young days of poetry and a velvet cushioned ring box, since the sweat of unusual autumn heat under heavy silk in the blinding sun. Since we stood in front of arched openings in the heavy stone wine cellars and bound our hands with wine red satin.
As always, my darling, it is to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach that I love you.
It's through predictable tears that I reread,
I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!