Monday, April 12, 2010

Red, red wine

I spent my 13th wedding anniversary wiping blood of my child’s hands. We were playing bocce ball and Truman had thrown himself on Rick’s back, full spread eagle in the air, after I proclaimed war – us against Daddy – in what was shaping up to be an impossible battle. Upon coming down, my precious son landed on Rick’s rear and, swinging his arm around his waist, made contact with Rick’s glass of red wine. The glass bowl shattered on contact, sending a splash of red wine over Rick’s pressed, white shirt, and an icing sprinkle of glass over the green grass. My son melted in tears as a faint red line appeared on his hand. It grew into a drip and then a line that flowed ever so gently over his other hand, into the creases of his knuckle. I wiped it off with the tail of my 30-A T-shirt. If it stained, it wouldn’t matter. Rick threw the box of Band-aids down from upstairs, and I set off to mend a broken spirit with stretchy beige bandage.

He said, “But there is blood all around me,” and it mixed with the rich, red wine that covered his hands. I said blood was good. It is what binds us together. Makes him ours and only ours. Had it not been for that night 13 years ago, when I gave my life to his father’s, there would be no Truman bleeding here, in my arms, in the soft patch green of our backyard. At 6, this is still so strange for him to understand.

We walked to the house to clean the blood, now dried in brown streaks on his hand. Rick stopped him on the deck steps, and there Truman stopped to settle on his father’s knee. I rubbed the wet cloth over my son’s dirty hands, then pressed it against the fresh blood on my husband’s. “He was happy when he did it, you know?” I said. Rick nodded, “Yeah, I know. I know.” And there, with blood and red wine flowing over us, I kneeled down to kiss my husband. “What a glorious anniversary, my love,” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “It really is.”

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