Monday, February 24, 2014

What I Saw When I Was Looking

It's not often I'm in church, but today was a special occasion and I found myself there, sitting somewhere in the back with a good vantage point to people-watch.  A woman comes in and sits in a church pew by herself.  In only a few moments she is flicking her way through the prayer book and looking around nervously.  Mass starts and a little while later a tall, distinguished looking man comes in herding his two young daughters right next to the woman.

They are sitting there together now; woman, eldest daughter, youngest daughter, man - like a row of perfect dolls all together on the shelf. Her face lights up in recognition as she greets her eldest daughter and lifts her onto her lap kissing her numerous times with enthusiasm.  Soon, the woman starts doting - she is petting her child's arm, she is fixing her hair clip, she is kissing her, she is stroking her cheek.  The woman; mother, is in love.  I can tell by her gentleness and her caring and the way she touches her daughter but the smile that comes from within says it all.  I can feel the love from three rows behind and 7 seats to the right.

I can only assume the tall, bespectacled man is her husband.  He is attentive only to the sermon and priest.  He watches the altar with seriousness and absolute absorption; occasionally scratching at his shirt or fiddling with his watch.  I continue watching the woman though as she is a much more interesting subject.  I keep noticing that every so often she will look up at her husband and smile.  It's the same smile she gives her daughter but even more powerful, if possible.  She is absolutely besotted with this man; that forwards-starer.  She looks at him sideways, then she fixes her daughter's hair, then she looks at him again and grins and then looks down and immediately back up again and beams at him.  It's a smile that lights up the room, to use a cliché.  She flutters her eyelashes but she is not trying to flirt.  She blinks at him.  She stares.  She sighs. But he stares straight ahead at the altar, oblivious to her and oblivious to everything except the priest's ramblings.

After a while I stop watching them, finding more interesting subjects elsewhere but about halfway through the mass I glance back and notice that the woman has shuffled over sideways and planted herself next to her husband.  The kids are now both to her left.  He is relaxed, I can tell by the way he sits and she is leaning slightly into him, almost draped over him; as draped as you can get in church on a Sunday anyway.  They are clearly together.  They are clearly comfortable and loving towards each other.

I wonder how long they have been together.  The eldest looks about 4 years old.  It must be years.  But for all the years they have behind them and those yet still to come he will never know just how longingly and lovingly she looks at him when he's not paying attention.  Rather, to qualify he will never know just how besotted she was with him on Sunday 23rd February 2014.  Never!  I wonder a lot about the things we never see in those around us and those we take for granted because of assumption.  I wonder about all those unsaid moments and those things we never notice because we're too enthralled with other rambling ideas.

Labels: ,