Violetta,

As I tuck in the newest netflix under my arm, ready to watch a two hour documentary on African elephants. As I grab my glass of wine and the Seal’s favorite toy. As the Seal rushes ahead of me on the stairwell, spilling most of my wine, almost knocking me down. As I make my way up the stairs and on to our couch, where you are already camped out, without complaint at yet another documentary about African elephants. As I sit there with a tummy full of food that you and I have grown together, watered together, tended together, picked together and cooked together. As I sit there already wishing for dessert, right when you say, “Hey, what if I made some hot fudge for that bit of ice cream we have left?” As I put the movie on pause and watch you sail down the stairs like a sugarplum fairy, hair flying behind you, and that smile of yours that only a dessert can create. As I sit there sipping what is left of the wine that the Seal just made me spill, while she circles around and around and around on the couch making her fake little nest, as she plops down and grunts, like she does, and rests her heavy head on my lap. As I sit there and stare at the map of the world on our wall. As I am in awe again, like I am each time I look at the amount of ocean that use to sit between us. As I stare at that ocean and hear you clink and clank pots and pans in the kitchen, not even 40 feet away. As you holler up to me, “Almost ready! Do you want me to make you one or do you want to do it?” As I realize how wonderful and fun everything is right now, as it tends to be these days, more than not. As I say back, “You do it. I’ll love it… and promise to keep it to myself if I don’t.” As you run back up the stairs with two bowls of ice cream covered in freshly made hot fudge and that oh so proud smile. As I go to take a bite. As the damn dog takes a big lick of the corner of my spoon. As you wince and I say, “You know I’ll still eat off of this.” As you remind me, once again, of all the gross things that the Seal has licked that is now most likely on the spoon I am about to use.

As I sit here and eat ice cream with the hot fudge you just made, with a spoon that has just been licked by our dog , while I push play and we watch a sunrise in Africa and the narrator begins to talk. As you tuck into my arm, covering the half of me and my lap that the Seal hasn’t claimed. As I sit here right now, with you, and now the Seal too, I want to say thank you for the last four years. You make everything worth it.

love,

jesse

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