Super Bowl Sunday
I knew he was sad. I had known for a few months. We had talked about it until he was tired of talking and I was just tired. I tried everything I knew to cheer him up – his favorite food, shows, friends, activities, hobbies. Anything and everything I knew brought him joy I tried to encourage. I stopped nagging about the things I knew annoyed him – vacuuming and dishes and laundry. I could do them if it would help him feel happier again. I tried to just focus on the essentials – health and well-being and connection. But I was getting sad too. You can only carry another’s sadness for so long before it starts to seep into your skin too. We were both working hard – at work and love and health – and we were both tired.
I kept telling myself: Just keep going – a little longer. He finally had normal working hours and weekends. He was about to get a raise. Maybe we could move to a part of town where his commute wouldn’t be so taxing. Spring was coming soon and it would be warmer and the light would stay out longer. And we were already planning our summer getaway to one of our favorite places. Peace and nature and beauty and time for just the two of us was only a few months away. Just keep going. Only a little longer I would tell myself.
That afternoon was a relief. I had been away working for almost two weeks straight and I was spent. I needed a little attention and care myself. Snuggled into his side on the plush sofa for a whole three hours was exactly what the doctor ordered. I asked him to explain each play of the game. By this point I had watched enough football with him to understand the rules but I knew he loved teaching and I knew he loved the game. Mostly college football he would remind me. “There is no excitement in the pros – it’s all just a machine at that level.” Between you and me, I just wanted to listen to his gentle voice for a couple hours. Honestly, I could have listened to his voice forever.
His arm squeezed me tighter when he laughed at a commercial or yelled at a play. I felt like he was pulling into his joy and excitement and it strengthened me and made my heart glad. It was one of the first things I discovered about marriage that I loved – that you can experience someone else’s joy for something that you have no personal feelings about. Marriage had nearly doubled the things I enjoyed and I couldn’t believe it but somehow an occasional sports game had made it onto that list too.
We were not alone. His whole family was there – eating and talking and laughing and yelling at the referees too. But in that corner of the sofa, I felt like I had my whole world right next to me and it was so peaceful. It felt like home in that warm belonging way that only home can feel. Another’s sadness can seep in through your skin but so can their love. I don’t remember the game or who won. I don’t even remember who played. But those several hours of quiet joy and deepest contentment remain one of my fondest memories.
The odd part of this whole story is that that was one of the last Sundays I ever spent with him. About ten days later I would come home to our apartment and find out that he had gone to find his peace and joy and love and home somewhere else. I always hope that he has found it.