I got a note from my friend in the mail. He just got married. It was a private ceremony, he didn’t invite anyone.
He enclosed a handwritten poem:
“Thought I’d be single until I rot,
But someone thought I was hot,
Look at me, I just tied the knot.”
My friend is a bona fide poet. He went to school for such things. He was an eccentric free spirit who lived alone in a poet’s ratty apartment—which smelled like a wet bird dog.
He stayed up too late, writing poet’s poems. He ate ice cream for breakfast. Cereal for supper.
He had big plans for his life.
Then she happened. He met her at his nephew’s soccer game. She had three kids.
Our middle-aged, fun-loving, bird-dog smelling bachelor became a family man with three kids, a minivan, and a backyard that won’t mow itself.
Yes. I like love.
I know another woman who found love. Her husband divorced her at age seventy-three. She was a wreck. She didn’t think she would survive.
She stayed indoors for a few years, and hardly ever saw the sun.
Then, something happened. She began to make friends. She went to the beach some. She stayed up late, she went on dates.
Then, he happened. She met a retired boat captain—he steered barges on American river routes.
She married him. He asked what she wanted for a wedding gift. She wanted to see the world. He booked a one-year trip to Europe the very next month.
I could tell love stories all day.
Like the one about Stephanie and her husband—now there’s a story. They were told they couldn’t have kids. It devastated them.
A few years later, her best friends passed away unexpectedly. Her friends were in their thirties, with a two-year-old son.
Stephanie adopted the orphan and welcomed the child into a pink-walled nursery she’d already given up on.
Then, three years later, she got pregnant.
Truth told, I always wished I were a poet, like my friend. But I’m not. I use too many words for poetry. If I WERE a lyricist, however, I know what I’d write about.
I’d write about the unseen thing that changes you. The thing that makes all your grand ideas fall through, and replaces them with simple ones.
I’d write about how even though you are your own worst enemy sometimes; even though people wrong you; even though you almost give up hoping, it finds you in the end.
Maybe my poem would go something like:
I hope you never stop believing,
Even if believe be all you do.
May you laugh too much,
Cry too often,
And eat a biscuit or two.
May you smell too many summers,
Kiss too many bloodhounds,
And never act alone.
May you ruin your shirt with fresh tomato,
And forget to check your phone.
May someone take your hand,
Just when you think you’re done.
And show you where you’re going,
No matter where you’ve gone,
May heaven shine upon you,
And may you always find a home,
May you read the words, “I love you,”
In the last stanza of my poem.
Because so help me, I really do.