I had arrived to the restaurant early. The wait staff was completing the setup for my girlfriend’s bridal shower brunch. We were all waiting in the foyer to be called to the party area, chatting softly amongst ourselves or just people watching.
A couple in their mid-thirties entered, spoke to the hostess and put their name on the list for a table. When they completed the task, the man reached out and gently stroked his wife’s hair away from her face, briefly massaged her neck, then caressed her back and his arm came to rest around her waist. She leaned into him and turned to smile at him. He was nondescript, average height, brownish hair, soft around the middle… just average. Nothing really stood out to me about him except the obvious love and tenderness he held for the woman who stood beside him.
She was not attractive. She was overweight, and her clothing was not intended to conceal or compliment her figure… a tight-fitting tank top, stretch jeans and flip-flops were her attire. Her hair was colored a harsh, unnatural black. Her arms were heavily tattooed and as she reached for his hand, I noticed that the soft inner skin of her arms, from her wrists all the way to her armpits, were covered with long-healed “cutting” scars.
In that moment, I wondered what her story was. She displayed those scars, and everything else I noticed about her, without any apparent self-consciousness. I admired her for her confidence to simply be herself in a world that judges appearances harshly. But I wondered what it had taken for her to get to that point.
Our group was called to be seated shortly after that, and throughout the breakfast brunch buffet and, later, the walk on the pier, I never saw that couple again.
That was 2 1/2 years ago, and I’m not even sure why, but that moment impacted me deeply… I was thinking about them again tonight. Pulling it out of my memory and examining it.
I like to imagine that she loved herself enough to allow his love help conquer whatever fears, anxieties and hurts caused her to cut herself. I like to think that he fell in love with her because she had a depth of personality that they could stay awake all night talking and never run out of things to say. I like to imagine that despite her visible imperfections, she was a perfect match to his heart and that they’re still together, happy and they go out to brunch every Saturday morning.
Imagine happiness. Imagine that.