Do you know that scene in The English Patient when Kip sets up a trail of candles for Hana? And she follows them down the stairs, into the garden and down the path? It stays in my mind as one of the most romantic and magical scenes of all time. (And if you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to it) .
I love little candles. Little lanterns. Fairy lights in trees. The whimsy of light completely entices me. All those little flames light up my soul.
My Kip is Mr G.
He is not suave. He is not loud. He is not vain. He cares not for anything superficial. And he shows his love through doing things.
He speaks fluent ‘action’. It is his love language.
I speak fluent ‘words’ and ‘affection’.
Learning each other’s language has taken years. Years of so many things lost in translation.
Sometimes I wondered if we could bridge our language gap. I would insist upon more words. He would clear his throat and try.
I would search for signs of love. He would spell it out with fixing things around the house. Taking the bins out. Doing the dishes. And then he’d wonder why I hadn’t seen it. Why I hadn’t heard it.
I used to beg him to speak my language. Just a few words, I pleaded. That’s all it would take. And a thoughtful present. Yes, I’d like that too. And maybe a big long cuddle? He would do these things. For a minute. It seemed stilted and unnatural. Not his native tongue.
He tried so hard to speak my language. And when he did it blew me away. The notes stuck to the mirror. The words written in a card. These gave me hope that maybe he might be fluent one day.
And then it hit me. Forcing someone to be fluent was no fun. It wasn’t fair. It didn’t mean he didn’t care. It just meant he had another way of showing me.
And I do not doubt he gives all he has.
I woke up this morning and forgot altogether that it was Valentine’s Day. As I made my way downstairs I could smell bacon and eggs in the kitchen. Mr G announced my breakfast was ready. I still hadn’t cottoned on that it was a Valentine’s Day gesture. As he rushed out the door for work, he handed me a box of a chocolates and a card – using a language I was more familiar with. Ah, it all made sense now.
And then I just sat there thinking while my kids were yelling around me. I really didn’t care about the card and chocolates as much I cared that he had put a load of washing on and hung it out, loaded the dishwasher, and wiped up last night’s dinner from the table. All before I had woken up. And he does this every morning.
And then I remembered last night. When the kids were in bed. He turned out all the lights in the house and told me too look out the window. And this is what I saw.
In the garden I could see lanterns surrounding Luka’s grave. I thought he might like them, he said.
I burst into tears. Yes, I think they will watch him. They will light his way.
And I realised the deepest love language had been spoken.
He knew I loved lanterns. He knew I loved Luka.
These were love lanterns.
They were lit to comfort my heart.