Too many love stories I’ve read depict a brief encounter, a love that needn’t last, so not much is asked of it. Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife” gave me a much more familiar perspective of enduring love. Although Clare and Henry meet, marry, start a family on much the same calendar as many, they share a history only possible through the novel’s conceit. The adult Henry shared a friendship with the young Clare. (Granted when she met Henry as an adult and now the same age as she, she knew they were meant to be. That is a surety not usually bestowed on couples.) The same assumption that certain people travel through time not only gives them confidence in their marriage, but also causes the hero’s early death. Still the love story continues, as post-mortem visits are possible if he traveled to the future while alive. Yes, it’s confusing, disturbing, exhausting. Henry hurts his wife in small and large ways. She lashes back. It’s true love, one that truly lasts a lifetime.
It’s something that I share with my husband – no, we don’t time travel. We met very young and married rather young, and it’s far too late for him to die young. Although there were moments I may have wished he had. We’ve hurt each other in small and large ways. Some very large ways. Yet we’re still together, working on not doing that any more. Perhaps to an extreme. This morning, hours before dawn, propped on his elbow he watched me sleep. He wanted to get up to use the bathroom (I did mention that we’re no longer young, right?) but didn’t want to wake me. Instead he kissed me. (An odd substitute, I’ll admit.) I fought the need to sleep with the desire to wake if he needed me to be awake at that moment. He did. He was restless. Now he sleeps wrapped in blankets and I sit here, shivering, at the computer. But I know if I crawl back in bed soon, my bare legs cold as ice, he’ll curl himself around me to warm me. Yes, it’s confusing, disturbing, exhausting. It’s true love, one that truly lasts a lifetime.
Causes Jodi Thompson Supports
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee