Once, shortly after I was married, I was standing in a movie line with my husband and as I stood there, I could feel the ebb and flow and sway of emotions moving through me, just having their way with me. I could feel my mood darken, shadows deepening and threatening to swallow me when moments before, I had been standing in daylight. I looked around at all the patrons in line, and I wondered if everyone felt as I did, the ground shifting, shifting, always. I looked up at my new husband, handsome and solid beside me, and I asked him, "Do you ever feel your mood changing moment to moment? Do you know what that feels like?" I remember he looked down at me from his six-foot-two height, his eyes full of sympathy and uncomprehension. "No," he said. "I really don't know what that's like. I'm sorry." And that was the moment, well into my adult life, that I understood that not everyone feels this treachery of emotion, this sense of having one's footing always unsure, the ground always in danger of falling away. This is how I am feeling today.
It has been a sweet interlude, these two unsupervised weeks with my husband. I found myself excited to go home and see him at the end of each day, the feeling almost like when we were just married. It was a reminder that soon our children will be grown and setting up their own households, and it will be him and me, just us two, and we have to take care of each other, love each other through whatever comes. This quiet recognition made me feel so tender toward him, and grateful, too, to have him in my life, this man with whom I can be in whatever state the moment finds me, under the sway of whatever emotion reaches up and claims me. In his company, I can be me, afraid sometimes, sad sometimes, silly sometimes, full of tears for no reason sometimes. And he is there, handsome and stalwart at my side, the ground unmoving beneath his feet.