Rush hour. Andrew, Big Guy and I snagged a 3-seater on the subway, en route to our meeting. The car filled up with people who, on the outside, appeared to have normal lives. This is an illusion: surely in that number of people there is someone grieving, someone just diagnosed with a dreaded disease, someone severely depressed. You can't tell. I knew they couldn't tell what was screaming in my heart, either, just from looking.
But then I began to cry, and if someone looked up from iPod or newspaper or book, it would have been obvious all was not well. Andrew reached over and took my hand.
After 17 years of marriage we don't hold hands much any more, and when we do I don't sit around and gaze at how our fingers twine.
I stared at Andrew's wedding ring, and remembered the excitement of going to the souk-like shops on 47th Street in Manhattan to buy it.
I thought of the first weeks after we were married, when Andrew tapped his ring on the subway pole to make it clink, a call to all that said, Look at me! I'm married!
I looked at his fingernails cut crooked (he's never learned), and at his small, gentle hands. The skin is slightly more wrinkled now, the veins a bit more prominent. The same is true of mine. Given how much I feel I've aged in the past two months, our hands looked surprisingly youthful.
Andrew worries about getting older, but I do not think of him as old. I think of him as my spouse, the man given to me for always, the man I love. The man who will hold my hand when I cry on the subway in the middle of a crowd that doesn't know what is in my heart.