We went to see Romeo and Juliet for Valentines Day. It was beautiful. And magical. And this time, sad. We've seen that play four times in our nearly-eleven-years of marriage and every time I see it differently.
As a newly-wed, on our honeymoon, it was a tale of ultimate passion, ultimate sacrifice. The noble lovers giving all for their love. And how like new love that is. It's a fierce fire, consuming the lovers, all rational thought burned away in the heat of desire and the certainty of choice. It seemed very right to me at the time that each should take their own life-- for me too, life without my lover seemed impossible to comprehend. It ought not be allowed to exist. Death would be preferable.
This year, knee-deep into my marriage, this beautiful adventure, I saw something different. I could see more clearly the dangerous and fleeting nature of that consuming fire. My eyes are no longer blind and I could see those little follies lovers so oft commit. The passion seems now a little hollow-- lacking knowledge. The fire burns more than it warms or lights, lacking the proper density of fuel. Early love burns like paper-- so quick to light, so hot-burning and yet so impermanent. Theirs was a showy, surface love-- all leaf and flower and no root. All passion and no knowledge, no experience, no story written yet. So unworthy of the sacrifice they made for it.
Give me instead this love I have here. Slow-burning, hot, and steady. It fills our house with warmth and light. It's been fueled by eleven long years of self-sacrifice, patience, commitment and knowledge. I love you know because I know you. I love you because I have grafted myself into you through these years. I have nestled deep into the core of you and we have taken root together and grown into a living alloy. And the middle-years of the fire we started so long ago are so warm and beautiful to me.
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