Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Best Medicine by Kate



I had my wisdom teeth removed last week, while Andy moved into our new apartment—a clever but painful plot to sit on my butt while my fiancĂ© lifted heavy boxes. After some recovery time with my mom, she passed me off to Andy. When he came to get me I was waiting on the couch, ice pack covering my ginormous cheeks and bruised jaw. I could tell Andy was a little startled by the fact that he’s never seen me look so disgusting, but he kissed me on the forehead as if it were just another Saturday. “You look cute,” I mumbled.

He stared at me, paused, stared some more, paused some more, and didn’t crack a smile when he quietly said, “You too.”

Sweet comic relief—I was a lot of things that day, and cute wasn’t one of them. So for the first time in a few days, I laughed. I wasn’t thinking about how someone had just carved four teeth out of my skull. I wasn’t thinking about my plans to eat grits for dinner for the third night in a row. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I looked like a beat-up chipmunk. I just smiled, and I laughed.

Until I tasted blood in my mouth. And felt it dripping down my lip. So I stopped smiling, but Andy, unhindered by stitches and swelling, kept on laughing. He wasn’t laughing at me; he wouldn’t be so unkind—but I was straight-faced and looking like a Twilight reject on the couch, so he certainly wasn’t laughing with me either.

You know what? I think he was laughing for me.

When we get married in a few months, Andy will swear on the Bible that he’s going to take care of me. In sickness and in health, he’ll say. And the truth is, he’s not my mother, so when I’m sick he might not always know what I need before I need it. He might not touch my head and know instantly if I have a fever or keep two ice packs in the freezer so when one melts, another’s ready. But my goodness, that boy can heal me. Just one taste of his deep down, uninhibited belly laughter, and I’m new again.
(Good thing I like his soul too, because I’d probably marry him just for the way he laughs.)
Andy laughs with his whole body. You know it’s coming when he’s completely silent but starts smiling, and then you see his stomach move up and down, up and down. Then he hunches over and tilts his head to the side, still smiling. Then comes the best part: He makes the strangest, most joyful sound I think I’ve ever heard—it’s like a cross between a hiccup, a wheeze and patterned labor breathing. And then he goes silent again.
Come to think of it, Andy’s laugh is a lot like an asthma attack. Maybe we should get that checked out.



{w. scott chester photography}

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2 comments:

In The Cottage said...

This was so sweet, I think there's honey dripping from my computer screen! LOVE it!!!!

I also have a funny wisdom tooth recovery story wherein Andy was nursing me back to health (during our first year of marriage) and he nearly killed me with an overdose of Percoset and then left me at home in a nauseous drug-induced stupor while he went hiking for 3 hours. Fun.

homemade grits said...

oh my gosh christy. that's awful! i'm gonna get andy for that one next time i see him;)