I was young, still a teenager, and I mistakenly thought he was a somebody. He was accomplished, and brilliant, and handsome and kind, and he loved God, and he loved me! He spoke Italian and whispered sweet Italian nothings in my ear and I just thought to myself,
“Wow! It cannot possibly be true that this AMAZING SOMEBODY likes an invisible like me!”
So I married him.
At first he kinda was a somebody, and I wore make-up and worried about cleaning up the family room before he got home, and fluffed the pillows on the bed … stuff that you’d do for somebody you wanted to impress. You know what I mean.
For over forty years I have really, really liked this guy and he’s done some pretty amazing things. Lots of people look at him like he’s somebody. Especially people on the other side of the bench, where he sits in his black dress every work day.
But to me he is nobody.
A few days ago we had a rare Saturday when neither of us had any obligations that took us away from home. Late Friday night, after prayers and before we turned out the light, he asked “So, what do we have going tomorrow?”
“Not a single thing!”
“Really? You mean we have a free day?”
Since it was at that moment pouring rain I knew that golfing was not an option. So I said:
“I was thinking of tackling the Christmas closet.”
You have to know that this is a big deal for me. That Christmas closet is big! Seriously, most people would covet our Christmas closet. Except that this particular Christmas closet is stuffed full! Between my penchant for all things sentimental and festive, and twenty-five years of decorating stages for Christmas concerts, we have a serious abundance of holiday cheer!
So, there we were, all day Saturday, walking in and out of that closet, carrying box after box of treasures. I would sort through them, filling boxes and bags to give away to charity, and Dave carried them downstairs to the garage. He made so many trips up and down the stairs he was in Fitbit heaven!
At one point in the day I looked in the mirror and realized that I had washed my hair and let it air dry with no attempt at control, I had thrown on grubby undersized comfort clothes, and the fine light hairs of my advancing years had formed a lovely moustache on my upper lip, quite noticeable when the sunlight hit it just right. I commented out loud that I was quite the beauty! I walked out into the hallway, which appeared like a hurricane had hit our whole house, and Dave came bounding up the stairs and planted a kiss on that furry lip of mine. I shooed him down the stairs with a box full of painted wood Christmas trees and plastic holly garland. Later, back in the closet, I belted out a Christmas carol. I mean, full voiced, with a forced and lengthy vibrato, Joy to the World! Dave was standing right behind me. I wiggled my hips in time to the song, my arms raised above my head to retrieve a box of lights, the water balloons of flesh on my underarms flapping as I sang. I turned to him and looked him straight in the eye, singing “Reeeee-joice, Reee-joice!”
Almost immediately I stopped. Like I was stunned by someone, or something. And I WAS stunned. I suddenly realized that I could sing, and dance, and carry on with full abandon, like Nobody was watching.
I’m not exactly sure when Dave turned into a nobody for me. A beautiful, safe nobody. It likely happened so gradually we didn’t notice. He has always treated me like I am the only person on the earth, like nothing else existed when I entered the room. He has greeted me with love and kindness, so repeatedly and so sincerely for so long that my opinion of myself began to rise from invisible to…well, to thinking of myself as…somebody. The more he made me into somebody, the more he evolved into the perfect nobody.
Nobody loves me.
And I love him.
Today is his birthday. He’s not all that comfortable with years that keep creeping up on him. One day both he and I will be gone from this earth, this house, this Christmas closet moment of our lives. But even when my mister has no body, I will love him like nobody else.