We spent Christmas and passed the New Year in Maine. My husband's mom and step-dad live in a hippie-built octagon on a wooded ridge about half an hour from the coast, where my husband's cool older sister lives in a drooping, salty, antique house. I hardly left the hearth once a day for two weeks, but mostly looked out the window. Everything was caked with snow. We romped through the brilliant woods with a dog, following a deer trail backwards; I lay on my back to watch the living bones shiver, and pretended I was high. It really works!
Now we have been married two years. I am 24 and I will be 25 this year. My husband has already passed those pencil marks on the wall, and my God, he'll be 27. We're young, healthy, and happy, but look at pictures of us in college. 19, 20 and 21 sparkled even through the hangovers and the baby fat, the acne and the confusion. There is a picture of my husband playing the guitar, taken by a girl. He still has the same guitar and wears the same shirt, but his smile is sweeter and fresher than it could ever be again, even in the next moment after the picture was taken. Was it an earlier day in spring, or the song he was playing for someone else, or both? I was younger too. My vitality quivered and shimmered beneath the leaf, but sometimes it broke out in small brilliance, and I was told that I had power.
I don't wish to return to those days of sharper tongue and harder heart. I don't mourn them, merely mark them. I like the faint lines in our faces, which we've made for each other. We might have sparkled then like solitary stars, and hoped that we had distinguishing genius. But married light is softer, deeper, secret. Midnight wit gives way to morning knowledge... of some sort. I'm still only 24. Old enough to see the difference, that's all.