My husband rises before I do most mornings. I snuggle down under the covers a few minutes longer while he's in the bathroom, shaving and showering. Soon he strides back across the hall - awake, full of cheer, and eager for breakfast and my company.
For years, as he entered our room, he paused at the doorway before he switched on the overhead light and cautioned in a teasing voice, "Hang onto your eyeballs."
One morning, as I rubbed the sleep from my "eyeballs," I suggested that perhaps his first words to me each morning could be more endearing. He looked at me, puzzled. "Like what?"
"Oh," I said, dreaming up sweet nothings, "maybe something romantic, like 'Here comes the light, honey.' "
"Hmm," he said.
I chuckled as I got out of bed. I am obsessed with words. I read them aloud for the sheer joy of their sounds and meander daily through at least one of the 10 volumes of my Oxford English Dictionary.
My husband, on the other hand, epitomizes the saying, "Actions speak louder than words." He has quietly and good-naturedly supported me for years through the ups and downs of a writer's life. The word "eyeballs" did not conjure up images of spooky stares and haunted houses for him. He was simply alerting me each morning, with a bit of humor, that he needed some light to find his things and start the day.
I felt a little guilty for teasing him.
The next morning, I doubted he would remember our conversation and expected his usual greeting.
Instead, he paused at the doorway and sang, "Here comes the light" to the tune of a favorite Beatles hit, "Here Comes the Sun."
I sat up, beaming. Who could resist such inspiration at the break of day? I rose to see my husband in a new light and hummed the cheery song all morning.
Did you know the letters in the word married can be rearranged to spell admirer?