Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bookends -- jcarolek

I've known them for several years now. They go together -- white haired, slim build, neatly dressed, and always cheerful. Their smiles and greetings routinely catch me off guard, jolting me into a happy mood and smiling in return.

As I watched them today, he leaning in to tell her something, she laughing in that genuine "you tickle my funny bone," laugh and patting his shoulder in gentle admonition of his humorous communication, it occurred to me I was looking at a beautiful pair of bookends. And holding them together are their shared chapters of life, bound together with love, struggles and understanding into books. The books they have written together are, perhaps, of no interest to anyone but themselves, but it is clear these books hold them together even as they, the bookends, hold the books in place.

And I wonder what will happen when the first of this elderly couple succumbs to the inevitability of life -- death. Will the books simply fall to the side, no longer tenderly held together by the bookends? Will the one who remains simply stop? Will that one remaining bookend attempt to preserve those precious books, by refusing to move, lest they fall over?

I have not read their books, not even a single chapter. But I don't need to in order to realize their little library benefits just about anyone they encounter. I see it in action every time they walk into the room. And it occurs to me their happiness is simply contagious. These two have been married a million years, and are clearly, even after all of these years, each others' best friend, each others' true enjoyment in life, about as perfect a match as anyone could hope for.

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