The other day my husband and I decided to pressure wash our porch and sidewalk. The driveway was a lost cause; we decided to wait on that. The day was perfect—just warm enough to keep from getting too cool in the overspray. It was one of the most pleasant afternoons I’ve spent recently. It was Easter Sunday. We had no family commitments—no place to be—and it was delightful. I was completely at rest in my work. He would spray awhile, then me. I washed a few windows and cleaned some nastiness in the windowsill. We paused and drank tea.
Sound boring or disagreeable? It wasn’t; I was in the zone. It felt clean, bright hopeful—watching the grunge float away with the pressurized water jet. Removing the dirt—inch by inch. Satisfying.
We reached a point near the end of the walkway, and I went in to prepare a light dinner—something simple. When I went back outside to call him in I saw this etched on our driveway. It is by far one of the most romantic things he’s done in a very long time. It beat dinner out, flowers and candy, or even an expensive vacation. I felt like a school girl with her boyfriend carving our initials into a tree. It was a spontaneous gesture of his 45-year love affair with me.
That is the way love is. Or the way his love has been to me. “Raymond Loves Linda” has been etched across the path of our life together. All the dirty rotten experiences of our lives have that written over them—through my multiple bouts with depression, my injuries and sicknesses, or simply through my bad temper and our arguments, suffering, and trials. “Raymond Loves Linda” is written on the surface of our sometimes-grungy-less-than-perfect life together.
Now, every time I go down the walkway, I see this kind expression of love. It will accumulate dirt, and all will blend together, eventually becoming unreadable. However, I have this photo as a reminder of this small but beautiful gesture, and his love remains, even if the words disappear.
I just hope he is able to see “Linda Loves Raymond” etched across the dark roads of his life, too, even if it isn’t written on stone.