At writing group last week, our prompt was to pick a title of a Dali painting (there was a list to pick from) and write a reflection based on the title. Not the painting, just the title. So I picked “Two Pieces of Bread Expressing the Sentiment of Love” and wrote this:
When I was a teenager, I was told a parable, and I can’t remember by whom or under what circumstances, but I will never forget it. You see, there once was an elderly couple, and they would sit across from each other in the morning, to share toast and tea. One morning, probably a grey Tuesday morning, I imagine, when the toast popped up, the old man reached for a piece and buttered it carefully and handed it to his wife. Then he repeated with the second piece of toast, and they began their breakfast. But the wife wasn’t eating.
“What’s wrong?” the husband asked.
“I’ve had it!” said the wife. “Almost every morning for 62 years you’ve taken the heel of the loaf, toasted and buttered it, and given it to me, keeping a soft piece for yourself. Why do you do that?” she asked testily.
“Because it’s my favorite piece,” her husband replied.
For thirteen years now, I have risen almost every weekday morning at 4 AM, because that’s when my husband wants to go to work. He doesn’t have to…that’s when he wants to do it. I make him breakfast, pack him a lunch, and send him off to work. Have I resented that ever? Absolutely. I’ve had my mornings of slamming pans, cursing, and general grumpiness. I’ve felt taken for granted. He’s often in a bad mood. I’ve thought he’s selfish and a real pill. But I never ask why… anymore.
I know it makes him feel loved and cared for.
It feels good to be doing something tangible and showing my sustained love with my persistence.
And once when I grumbled, “Why do we have to do this every frickin’ day?”, he said, “Because I can come home at 3 and still have the rest of the day with you.”
Which is strictly bullshit, but the right thing to say. And no matter what, getting up at 4 am is my heel of bread. There are reasons.
I read it to Bob the next morning while he was eating breakfast (his back was to me). He was pretty quiet when I finished, and then I saw him wipe his eye. “Are you CRYING?” I asked. “I have something in my contact,” he said. “Well, did you get it?” (Full of questions, I was.) “What kind of dullard do you think I am? And I love you.” So, like I said, there are reasons. Many, many reasons.