55. Meet Me at the Bridge

55. Meet Me at the Bridge

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Happily Ever After

Meet Me at the Bridge

Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.

~Jean Kerr

In the early years of our relationship, I found it harder and harder to walk away from a visit.... I thought a “forever” loomed in front of us before we could live our lives together. The loneliness that engulfed me as I left each visit seemed to stretch so far out that it seemed impossible to tolerate!

My husband has an incredible sense of humor. He finds the positive where only negatives seem to exist. Together, we found a way to “deal with it,” not to constantly talk about next year, or three years from now. We learned to just “make it” from one visit to another... and visits became known to each of us as “the bridge!” In our correspondence, in our conversation, we refer to “making it” from one “bridge” to another. Honestly, the image of a bridge was in my mind because of a book that I and millions of others read, and then millions more flocked to see when it was made into a movie — The Bridges of Madison County. A “bridge” symbolized for us a special place to meet, a secret only we were sharing.

And what about that bridge? How have two hours spent at a wide table where holding hands is honestly uncomfortable (sitting in the midst of other visitors and under the watchful eyes of employees) become so special? First of all, we acknowledge that span of time is ours, and we talk. I honestly doubt that many married couples in the free world spend two whole hours at a time in their week really communicating! Elijah knows that I am sentimental, a “romantic” by nature. He kisses the palms of my hand; he takes all the blue M&Ms out of the package for me because that is my favorite color, and he unceasingly expresses gratitude. Gratitude is an attitude; I believe that! Elijah says thanks for every snack, for every mile I travel to see him — and his “thank yous” are sincere. I have learned through the years how special it can be to be genuinely appreciated! In the midst of a crowd, my wonderful husband is willing to blow me a kiss each week before he goes through a door and is out of my sight once again. It truly is the “little things” that count in life!

I truly do my best not to think about next month or next year, just the next bridge. I can recall how convinced I was that my husband would be paroled, but I don’t get to vote. Setbacks have taught me to stop looking ahead and to appreciate what very little time we do have together.

Recently we tried something new that worked for us. I bought a paperback copy of The Green Mile for my husband, knowing that the movie would soon be released. He suggested that I buy a copy for me, too. We each read the book during the week and discussed it at our visits, and when I saw the movie, I was viewing for two. My “movie review” at our Sunday bridge was very real for my husband because we had just finished reading the book together.

Perhaps it sounds unrealistic to you, but when Elijah does come home, I want the bridge in our lives to continue. Every Sunday I want us to spend two whole uninterrupted hours talking to each other; I never want that level of communication to diminish in our marriage. I also believe that if we keep the bridge in our schedule, it will serve as a special reminder of where we came from: two people who met with glass separating them, who waited years for the first touch and the first kiss, who learned to appreciate every moment together.... For as long as we live one of us will look at the clock on Sunday afternoon and say, “Meet me at the bridge!”

 

~Nancy Muhammad
Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul

More stories from our partners