TITLE: Just for me
By Karen Petty
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Colorful banners and tabletops filled with sporting gear line the aisleway, as we move through the busy crowd. The reps behind each table make lots of eye contact and promises, in hopes of sealing a deal. This isn’t my comfort zone or area of expertise. But it is my husband’s. He truly is the hardest working man I’ve ever known.
Most days, I spend at home with our four children. One needs a diaper change and another, help with a project. Others need to picked up from an after school event or reminded to feed the dog. Needless to say, every moment of every day, someone needs something, from me. That’s why I’ve been looking so forward to this trip. We’ve been planning for months for me to come along. I knew there would be classes to sit through, and downtime where I’d have to wait until Mike is done with his commitments. But it would be worth it just to travel together and fit the fun in where we can.
Three days have passed since we boarded a plane for this place. I’ll admit. I miss the kids. Mike does too. But we keep the conversation on other topics, in effort to avoid any anxiety in that department. Besides, they’re probably having a ball at Grandma’s house anyway.
The sound of my husband’s heavy bag setting on the trade show floor brings my attention back to the present. A smiling man approaches, pressing our palms and highlighting his wares. My eyes pour over my husband during the exchange. He is confident, outgoing, and focused. I can almost see the wheels turn in his head, as he inquires with a friendly tone while conveying a firmness. He knows his stuff. The draw I feel towards him as I watch him work catches me off guard. He is a man of excellence, always putting in one hundred percent. Even at home, it seems he is always working on a project to make our house and yard well-kept. Mike invests in relationships with each of us. He is constantly planning ahead and doing the things that make our day to day lives, as a family, really good. Nobody hits the mark all the time. But his efforts and the kind of man he is becoming, makes me proud.
It’s time for lunch. We scout out a nearby eatery and are escorted to a table. Mike always lets me chose where I’d like to sit first, and then seats himself accordingly. As we move through the buffet line, I am relieved not to be cooking. I am enjoying this break. I approach the table to find that my husband has ordered a water for me, with no lemon…which is exactly the way I like it. I recognize that he cares enough to be aware of what I like. I recognize that he favors me. My mind wonders if any other couples that have been married this long still enjoy that kind of attentiveness. I hope so.
Words volley above the assortment of food we’ve selected. Some of our conversation surrounds Mike’s conference and how it is coming together. It makes me feel close to him to hear about his work. We also make plans for what our evening will hold. That’s what I anticipate the most. Somehow, no matter what we’re talking about, I feel like he is giving me his undivided attention. And it feels so good! How does he do that…put everything aside, just for me?
We step out of the restaurant and walk towards the place where our paths will temporarily part. Soon he’ll be back at the trade show and I’ll be at my favorite sci-fi gift shop. The crowd bustles by, as we move out of the flow of foot traffic. “ I am so in love with you”, I reveal, knowing that he knows I feel this way but not being able to hold it in. “ I love you too”, he says, pulling me in and kissing me. We make plans to meet later, for a corporate reception and then, be on our own for the night. “I’m glad you came with me, Karen”, he says. “Me too”, I add. We head separate directions, yet I still feel connected and really loved. Taking this trip together has turned out to be a great idea.
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