Emphasis on Understanding

He likes to emphasize how happy he is to have a spouse, how glad he is that he has a traditional family, how he loved and loves having children - all the things he doesn’t think she has (she has him for ‘husband’, hordes of friends and relatives for family, her songs for children, she reminds herself). He seems to think she made a choice to reject those things, to reject the possibility of them having those things together and she wonders if he chooses to block out those choices they didn’t make, those losses she still grieves. She doesn’t think he says this to hurt her on purpose but…

It’s unfair that he emphasizes what she doesn’t have to the press. But when she points this out one night, he tells her that his wife doesn’t exactly appreciate Stevie constantly talking about how he thinks they’d be married with kids now if it weren’t for cursed destiny, that it’s uncomfortable for everyone involved when she insists on undermining the emotional importance of his marriage in favor of discussing his apparent regrets. Not that those regrets aren’t very real and true, of course.

When he says this to her, she can see him bracing himself for a slap or for verbal recrimination. But it never comes. Instead, she walks over to him, wraps her arms around his waist and rests her head against his chest. And she knows he used to burn for, crave a fight because it meant passion and intent and this-still-matters-to-her. This, though, the way her hands come up under his soft sweater and massage his back as she closes her eyes, is so much better for both of them. He kisses the top of her head, takes a deep breath, tells her sorry. She murmurs something in response and smiles against him when she realizes he can’t understand the words. But that’s nothing new. And it doesn’t matter.

They understand enough.

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