Friday, September 05, 2008

Signs of love

One of my favorite things to do is to watch couples. I don't stalk couples, but, I enjoy seeing couples and seeing that little...something...that little flash of affection between two people.

For example, last winter, Kev and I were at Orschlens, the local Farm & Home store and we ran into a friend of mine and her husband. Now, this friend and her husband aren't a typical couple. They are both extremely independent people who don't often appear in public together. And, they are a very private couple, they don't like "PDA's" (Public Display of Affection). I'm sure there are many who think their marriage is "in name only" marriages.

But that day, when we were visiting in Orschlens, one of them cracked a joke, and they looked at each other--one of those special looks that was full of love and affection and understanding of each other. Seeing that one glimpse, I knew, without a doubt, that while their marriage isn't typical, they love and like each other. That one glance they shared was almost intimate.

That's what I like seeing. That's why I like to watch people. With some people, it's easy to see if they like and love each other. I like seeing those little unconscious displays of affection--they might be a glance, or a touch. Sometimes it's how they say each other's name. But I like seeing that--in whichever form.

I remember once as a kid, watching my parents. We were driving somewhere. Steve and I were in the back seat, draped over the front seat, visiting and probably arguing about who was taking up more of that space. But, anyway, Dad simply reached over and patted Mom's thigh. She simply reached down and rested her hand on his. Such a simple, common thing, but it struck me that that was one of those little ways of saying "I love you."

One of my colleagues at Colby always talked about his wife, and when he did, his whole face would literally light up. He just glowed when he talked about her. And, the few times I visited with her, she would also light up talking about him. They weren't newly weds, they had been married over 30 years, but his face would still light up...after all those years.

My Grandad W, when he walked into a room, would always look around for my Grandma. If she wasn't in the room, he'd ask, "Where's Mother?" He just needed to know where she was, and once he knew that she was there, or that she was ok, he was fine. I think I saw them kiss each other twice. Once at their 50th Anniversary party and once at their 60th. They weren't big on PDA's, yet, we all knew that she was the center of his world.

When Kev and I were dating, and when I first met his parents, I noticed that my FIL touches my MIL frequently. Maybe just a light touch on her shoulder, or arm, but he touches her often. I think I noticed that because at that time, Kev didn't want me touching him--especially in public. I was a little jealous that his parents could touch, but that we couldn't.

We've had friends and family who's marriages have gone through rough spots. As they have worked through those spots, I've watched how they act towards each other, how they touch or don't touch or how they look at each other. Those who make it...well, you can see the improvement. That's wonderful to see. The opposite is also true, those who were working on their relationship, those looks, and those touches just stopped happening. You could see it--often before the couple did. Those are heartbreaking.

I've even looked for it in dating couples. One of my cousins brought home a couple of different men she was dating. The first seemed to fit in well and visited with everyone, but she just didn't "light up" and they didn't look like a couple. The second guy fit in as well, but she "lit up" around him and smiled and laughed and there was a comfort and special spark that they shared. She married him...and they still show that spark.

Strangers...I even like seeing that spark in people I don't even know. We've all seen them--especially among old people. I like to think that when we get old, we know that time is short and that you have to show your feelings to your loved ones. Maybe it's something as simple as a touch. Maybe it's in a glance, maybe it's even something bold like holding hands...what ever it is, it's love. And I like seeing those signs of love.

So, I'm a watcher...I watch for those signs of love. They make me believe in happy endings.

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