One Day


By Carolyn Shields

One day we will lay on a roof and gaze at stars not hidden by city lights, and we'll remember the time when we invited friends over, smoked cigars, drank whiskey and beer and wine and scotch, ate candy, played guitar, and read poetry together.

One day we will look back and miss these days where our grocery budget was thirty dollars a week, and we bought our ice cream in quarters. One day we'll have a proper dining table and not a small barnyard piece I bought for forty dollars at a flea market that sits only two. But two is enough for now.

One day I'll probably yearn for these nights when you won't ask me to turn down my music, and three year olds aren't throwing tantrums, and I'll miss returning to this quiet apartment with the slanted floors and deep windowsills and you're in your apartment elbow deep in studies.

One day, for no particular reason at all, we'll probably pull out my journal and read the prayer I wrote for you before we met. And then I'll flip a few pages and recite entries of the first time we cried in front of the other, and what I thought the first night I closed my eyes, breathed deeply, and listened to the assurance of your heartbeat.

There will probably be a day that we think of this time as Before: before mortgages and vows and baby bumps. Before leaving this city.

One day we'll say, "Remember how I would blush when you looked at me? How we talked for an hour every night? How we would spend hours working on a puzzle?"

One day on my birthday, we'll talk about my 25th, when we sat on a dock, barefoot with ripped jeans and fished, and other precious moments that comprise a lifetime: hearing your voice fill the corners of this lonely apartment when you sang for me, the way you always left your headlights on and your battery died because you were so excited to see me, and the way it felt to hold your hand in the city when we were caught in the rain, our laughter ringing out.

And one day we will have to let the other go. Maybe that's only months away as we continue this walk to the altar, or maybe that's when our lungs are giving up. I know I'm writing as if it's the latter, but either way, my prayer from the beginning has always been detachment. To remember that you're the Lord's before you are mine. So letting go I think are okay bookends for us. It only reaffirms the truth of the present.

So today I thank God for you now. For what will become our past. For what is shaping all of these days to come. For this precious time and these fleeting days where we are still our own and trying to give ourselves at the same time. When we are cultivating what we've been given and striving to grow it into something beautiful. To have it bear fruit to share with others, fruit that will one day, God willing, will be life itself.

Yes, we'll have our sweet one days, but let's not rush for this day is sacred.