Sunday, December 4, 2011

Comfortable Moments - by A.R. Norris

My friend and I were having lunch and the discussion moved to relationships. My friend asked me what my favorite memory was with my husband.
“Geez. 16 years adds up to a lot of memories,” I said. (This was a while ago. We’re on 18 years now.)

“One,” she insisted. “And not the birth of your children. It has to be an experience that was just you and him.”

I sat back and one memory kept floating to the surface. No, that couldn’t be my favorite memory, I thought. It’s so... boring and dull. But it wouldn’t go away. It was my favorite memory.

“Ash and I dropped the kids at my sisters and snuck off to the beach. It was Fall and the northern coast was warm and there was no wind for a change. We’d brought a blanket thinking we’d need to sit on the sand wrapped up in it, but instead we were able to lay it out. Ash and I sat and talked. Then laid and talk. And then took a nap together on the beach.”

Huh, who would’ve thought?

But in hindsight, it makes sense. This was quite some time ago and between then and this post I had a major health issue. After the ambulance took me to the hospital in the city for surgery, my husband dropped the kids off at my sisters and met me there. We sat in the patient room and talked. When I got tired, I laid the bed down and with him sitting in the guest chair, we talked. Then we took a light nap together. (That could’ve just been me sleeping... can’t be sure.)

Passion is exciting, yes. And it burns hot, most certainly. But the most meaningful and deep moments are often those quiet moments where it’s just you and him, beyond the passion. Because let’s face it, passion without love it like a fire with only kindling... it burns fast and then is dead. Love is the log that keeps the fire going.

In my latest release, Revelations of Tomorrow, Doctor Brenda Bonney and Captain Makai Yourimoc have one of those comfortable moments. Well, if they weren’t chasing space pirates and stopping a terrorist plot, who knows, their courtship probably would’ve taken years with how understated and introverted they are.


Brenda and the captain returned the way they'd come, not speaking. The sounds of woods were calming and she enjoyed the moment of quiet. She'd grown up in space, mostly in vessels. There'd always been something running and making a disruptive noise of some sort. These sounds of nature were in synch with the environment.

"You do not smile enough, Doctor." He slipped the machete back in its scabbard, on the opposite side from his standard sword.

She'd expected it so make a shish sound as it slid in, but it was silent. So much for the inertial vids.

"Please, call me Brenda." She decided not to respond to his observation, not sure whether it was a complaint or a compliment. Maybe a mixture of both.

"Okay, Brenda it is, if you call me Makai, of course."

They fell into a content quiet for some time. Brenda immersed herself in her surroundings on the way back through the forest. The noises blended together could've come across chaotic. Instead, the rustling of leaves, chattering of various animals, and the crackling of brush underneath their feet made for harmonic music. Added with the mixed smells of flowers, rotting woods, damp ground foliage, and the subtle acrid scents of weeds, the experience was rich and if she could describe it thusly -- thick.

Coming from the sterile environment of vessel living, she found the organic surrounding enveloping. The connection beyond her physical self and a sense of relaxed enjoyment spread through her spirit.

"These woods are very peaceful. I'm surprised there's no settlement here. It'd be a great vacation spot," she voiced to her quiet, contemplative companion and wondered if his thoughts were in line with her own.

"It is unusual. I was raised on a planet similar to this. It can be very peaceful, but also very... enclosing." A flash of grief crossed his face and his mouth tightened momentarily before he sighed and looked out beyond her into the trees.

Before she had a chance to filter herself, she asked, "Why does that make you sad, Makai?"

He stared down at his hands a moment and blinked several times. Many minutes they walked in silence. Brenda began to assume he wouldn't tell her. Her heart ached for him and she wanted to reach out and grasp his arm in comfort.

"My wife," he started, but his voice cracked. "My wife and I settled on my planet for many years. She loved our home. Several years ago I uprooted her to take a position on a satellite station."

The shock of his marriage startled her. The idea had never crossed her mind and the revelation caused her a little embarrassment at the direction many of her thoughts had gone since their introduction. "Oh. I'm sure your wife adjusted well to the station."

"No. She never made it. I'm a widower now." He said it in the simple way she'd heard other long-term widowers say it. Grief settled on him like a long worn suit, very deep inside and only came out occasionally during strong memory triggers.

She didn't touch him. It would be wrong at the moment, disrespectful to his wife's memory. Just as any comment would've been insincere.

He shook off the moment. "I apologize. It hits me sometimes unexpectedly. It was many years ago and I've managed to reconcile the grief." To prove it, he bent without missing a stride and plucked a purple flower. Handing it to her he said, "You look like a fairy in these woods, Brenda."

She allowed a small gasp, took the flower, and sniffed the beautiful scent. "Your wife must've been very lucky in her marriage."

They smiled at each other and completed the rest of the walk in a content silence.


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A.R. Norris said...

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today.

Vijaya Schartz said...

You are welcome, Amber.
I love your books, so it's an easy decision.

Allie Ritch said...

Love the excerpt. I agree that romance isn't just about lust. Sometimes moments of harmony and understanding are the most powerful.

StephB said...

Amber, thanks so much for sharing your memories.

I have to say the birth of our kids was important to both of us, so I can't not mention it. My husband was deeply moved when Andrew came into the world. When Joe was born he was very emotional because he was an emergency c-section and it was wretching for him to watch.

Moments between us? I remember our courtship - and that was back in 1990-1991. We were married NOV 1991. I remember playing raquetball with him and enjoying going out to eat at the German restaurants. I remember Christmas Eve when he asked me to marry him.

I suppose after 20 years you get used to each other and things are comfortable. This last November we went to Catalina Island without the boys and spent time with ourselves - something we haven't done in years. It was nice, low key, and refreshing to have time to ourselves.

It's kind of what Allie has mentioned - romance isn't all passion, there are those rare moments of harmony (and drama) that reminds you of the love you share.