We sit, remembering, under palm leaves on a steamy July day that could have just as well been December since the weather never changes here. I roll the dice and make a move on the Backgammon board that somehow isn’t dusty or moldy.
We haven’t played in years, since before kids, since we were new to this island. Now as we steal a moment during the kids’ nap time, we reminisce. Most of our memories revolve around the dating years where we played Backgammon in a tiny coffee shop next to a roaring fire in my cold Pennsylvania college town. Our long-distance-dating passion and our hot drinks warmed us.
We have just celebrated 11 years of marriage. Even if it wasn’t 90 degrees outside, I wouldn’t need a hot drink—or the past—to warm me. I sit in today’s sweat and problems and young-mom-tiredness, loved by a man who continues to fight for my heart. He knows me better and deeper than he did during the Backgammon years. And he knows me as the woman changed by kids and overseas-living and age and life. Which means he knows where I hurt, when I need understanding, how I desire love.
He invites me to grow, refusing to let me settle into lies, not letting me sink in pain. He cheers on my visions, even the ones that seem crazy or too big. He remains strong, my steady rock, who I am still convinced has all the answers to both Trivial Pursuit and to life.
Much has changed over the years—our bodies, our jobs, our location, our interests. But I am still the girl who wonders how she managed to turn his head and still marvels that he chose—and still chooses—to love me.
I watch him roll the dice and win. And I cheer because it is I who has really won.