On Our Anniversary

On Our Anniversary

1920 1280 Nathaniel Lee Hansen

It was two weeks ago when our son and I took a break from reading, and I showed him the wedding photo album, pointing out different people. (Yes, that’s your aunt when she was 16 as the maid of honor. Yes, those are your great grandparents.) He is both attentive and inquisitive as I turn the pages of memory.

I remember how humid it was outside after two-inches of rain the day before, your shoes sinking into the lawn as we posed for pictures outside the church.

I remember how you stood, your mom and dad on either side of you at the first pew, while I sat at the piano, singing the processional, my musician friends all around me adding their notes and harmonies.

I remember how you leaned in my ear, said that you needed to sit, that you felt as though you would faint.

I remember the foot-washing part of the ceremony, how cool and refreshing was the water after you had peeled off my sweaty socks and washed my feet in a basin after I had washed your feet.

I remember how difficult it was to let you do that.

I remember how after the reception we drove off into the sunset toward our cabin, and how a thunderstorm rolled through that night, the windows open to the wind and rain that, along with the ceiling fan, cooled our exhausted bodies.

When I saw those pictures of you from the photo album, my stomach danced, my legs felt rubbery, all just as they did on that day. What a beautiful bride you were; what a beautiful bride you are.

It is 14 years now. We have crossed the country. We have two children. We are still in love.

I haven’t written any songs since the music for the wedding (which, if I’m honest, is just fine), but you show up in my poems. Here is one fitting for such an occasion.

Love Story

Our story is one Hollywood
wouldn’t tell. Not enough drama.
Understated longings of two Minnesotans.

A first date at a Happy Chef,
a second date at the same Happy Chef.

A spring break road trip to Winnipeg,
the most adventurous span,
wandering in a mall, choosing a ring.

Then the proposal in a parking lot
while eating peanut butter and jelly
sandwiches, the car facing a dumpster.

You cried, and I took pictures.
We held hands in a planetarium show,
celebrating that night at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

These fourteen years together, those miles
driving to obscure and far-flung places,
you beside me with every odometer tick.

 

 

Nathaniel Lee Hansen

I’m a poet, fiction writer, and essayist. My chapbook, Four Seasons West of the 95th Meridian, was published by Spoon River Poetry Press (2014). My work has appeared in Christianity and Literature, Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, Blast Furnace, Driftwood Press, Whitefish Review, The Cresset, Midwestern Gothic, and South Dakota Review, among others. I currently serve as an assistant professor of English & Creative Writing at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. I also edit Windhover: A Journal of Christian Literature and direct the annual Windhover Writers’ Festival. When not writing or teaching, I run, read, play piano, listen to music, and play disc golf. My greatest joys are my wife, my son, and my daughter. I was born in southern Minnesota, but while growing up, I had little interest in the Plains and opens spaces. A stint at a rural state liberal arts college in southwestern Minnesota, as well as grad-school stints in northwestern Minnesota and southeastern South Dakota, altered my interests. @plainswriter, plainswriter.com, & www.facebook.com/plainswriter

All posts by Nathaniel Lee Hansen

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