Tuesday, October 4, 2011

powerful words

Writers write. Whatever.

I love my wife dearly. She is the complete package. She has curves that a Porsche couldn't hang onto, a mind so complex it can take on and finish a Sudoku puzzle and the Word Jumble at the same time, and a room-filling laugh that is the most genuine besides my own I have ever heard. She also has a wonderful mastry of words. This is the best quality I could imagine in anyone and a component crucial to a good relationship.

In my first marriage I felt stunted. I was married to a woman who, honestly, did not have a large vocabulary. It hindered her confidence and turned her inward in social situations. Worst of all it was a barrier to our communication which directly affected our relationship. I could not use my everyday vocabulary to talk to her as it made her feel as if I was showing off. She passed if off on me having a College degree and her having only attended High School for her verbal insecurity. I felt it was a more pervasive situation of a lack of importance on verbal expression in the culture in which she was raised.

Although divorced for six years now, I still see her lack of confidence when locked into a conversation that she feels unprepared for. She has good ideas inside of her and yet they get strangled on the way out due to a lack of training in how to articulate them. During the waning days of our marriage, when divorce was imminent, it became much harder for me to talk to her because she became suspicious that I was going to use my words to hurt or manipulate her. Admittedly there was some of that in the marriage. I was able to use my words to greater effect than she was. No fight was a fair fight for us.

Today it is my wife (the second one; should I call her the new one? is there a term for that?) who holds the upper hand verbally. She knows what to say and when to say it to make me laugh loudly, cry softly, yell in frustration, and even want sex more than dinner. I can hold my own when we do the back-and-forth (not talking sex here) chit chat but as far as making my point, any victory on my part is a sympathy loss on hers. It's okay, though. I can still write circles around her.

Since writers write, I suppose the talkers talk. Either way, being able to share your ideas is important for so many reasons. And as a writer I would like to share something my talkative wife once said that still makes me laugh to this day.

It was in the Autumn of 2010 when she and I were participating in a 5K run/walk (we walked) cheerfully called the Pumpkin Chase. It takes place every year in Lake Bluff, Illinois, and starts at the school she worked at when we first met. The course is beautiful, tracing streets along Lake Michigan and passing by so many historic and charming houses. While we walked along briskly she would tell me about the ones she liked, which she was familiar with having taken many walks by them during her lunch breaks.

There was one house in particular which she said she was fond of and wanted to show me. As we got closer she pointed it out. It was a sort of large cottage with steep sloped roofs and modest windows. In a word, it looked cozy. I was informed by my wife that an older woman lived there alone and the most endearing part of the property was her well maintained English garden that took up almost all of the yard space between the street and the house.

When we were finally close enough to get a good look, instead of a garden, I saw tall strangles of vines and overgrown wilted plants that seemed to choke and obscure the walkway to the front door. It was not what I pictured as an English garden yet my wife kept looking at it as we walked by. Could she really think this was attractive? As I pondered if this was the kind of garden, nay eyesore, my wife would want in front of our house, she turned to me and said, "Obviously she's had to let some people go."

It was like hearing Groucho Marx say, "Pardon me while I slip out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini." I laughed then and I am laughing now as I write these words. Thanks honey! You sure have pretty eyes and a sexy vocabulary.