Saturday, March 16, 2019

What's your 'resting face'?

My writing pipeline got clogged.

I’d written a piece for Valentine’s Day, and I balked at posting it. I was saying nice things about Tim, about Third Third revelations and appreciation of marriage; and it just seemed so … smug. Even though I admitted to “explosions, terrible ‘discussions,’ voiced regrets, shouted furies, quiet hopelessness,” it just seemed so … self-congratulatory. Like, hooray, we’ve made it!

But then I felt bad about putting aside a post that was so nice to my husband (since “nice” is not an adjective I really own); so I just … ran aground. That stalled post was blocking all alternative and future posts.

Combine that with winning a free two-month trial of Team Training at my athletic club and my discovering how utterly exhausting fitness can be. Basically, I ran around the room zipping through exercises that involved things like kettle balls and medicine balls and sliders for my feet. And big long ropes and elastic stretchy things and hanging from the ceiling. Not to mention jumping up and down and squatting for interminable periods of time. After all that, swimming a mile seemed like a rest day.

I was comatose by 7, asleep by 9.

We’d been on vacation and saw relatives, alligators, and manatees. In Epcot Center, in record-breaking rain, Sophie and I were on Spaceship Earth and somewhere along the line, they took photos of us. Afterwards, cartoon characters showed up in a video with our faces. Sophie’s face was pleasant and smiling. Mine was scowling.

“How’d you do that? Did you know when they were taking our photo? How come mine is so grumpy?”

“I just have a better resting face.”

“Resting face? Who ever heard of a resting face? Do people have resting faces?!?”

Well, I guess they do. And what I thought illustrated curiosity on my face actually looks like confusion if you’re generous and pissed-off if you’re accurate.

So then I had to practice a better resting face. Which is impossible while hauling kettle balls and medicine balls and pushing up. Or just sitting around fretting about that bit-of-love blocking my blog.

Someday, I’ll tell you about the valentines my husband has hidden around the house for me for thirty years, but right now, I’m just going to borrow a little quote from one of my favorite authors, David Grossman. In Someone to Run With, he describes the rotten underworld of the city, but then the wise woman of the novel, Leah, says this:
“You need a man with a big hand,” Leah pronounced. “You know why?” 

“Why?” She knew she would now be painted a picture. 

“Someone who will stand with his hand up, open, strong, steady – like the Statue of Liberty, but without that ice-cream cone she’s holding – only his hand, open, in the air. And then” – Leah raised her square, rough, nail-bitten hand and moved it gently from side to side, like a flying bird – “even from far away, from any place in the world, you’d see that hand and know you had a place to land and rest.”
That is my husband’s hand. And when I think on it, my resting face smiles.


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