“I want what you have,” she said. “An easy kind of love.” I was 35, had been out of the dating game since my first year of college (and in a committed relationship with Mr. Magpie for nearly as long), and yet had been daftly sputtering input as my friend sought advice on finding a boyfriend in her mid-30s in Manhattan when I was so taken by this earnest admission — by my friend’s bald and unflinching grasp of her own needs and her keen assessment of the nature of a relationship I had not previously considered visible to others — that I sat there in silence for a good while.
An easy kind of love.
Oh, you mean —
A Charlottesville kind of love, born in the sticky-summer heat of the mid-Atlantic:
Bare feet on the dashboard as you bounce through dirt roads, a mirage of “Red Ragtop” by Tim McGraw and 7-11 Slurpees and a little white dress with little white spaghetti straps and sunburns and an inner tube down the James River and him standing on the bank in his swim trunks, holding your sandals in his hands.
And bare feet, too, on the gravel as he rounded the Jeep and swung into the front seat, the tan arc of his back curving as he craned his neck and gestured for a cluster of students to “Go ahead, y’all,” before dipping slowly onto the asphalt of Rugby Road. His hand on yours and nowhere to be.
Oh, you mean an Appalachian kind of love —
Shivering around a bonfire in his faded sweatshirt four sizes too big,
The one with the fraying cuffs,
His hands searching for yours, and the night spilling out into the shocking spray of stars above you,
Just one more song from Benny Dodd, and one more minute perched on his knee, and one more, and one more, and one more.
Oh, you mean the kind of love that flows easy, coats every last nook and cranny, from the way he rests his elbow in the window of his college Jeep to the look of pure astonishment he wears on his face as you walk down the aisle on your wedding day to the anxious clenching of his jaw as you lie on the operating table, giving birth to your second child.
You mean a Sunday kind of love, unharried and worn in at the seams, the kind of love that takes you from lying on the roof of your first home, shoulder-to-shoulder with him in we-could-never-want-more bliss, to grieving all-consuming losses, his body pocketing yours, and yet waking up each morning to the familiar sounds of him narrating his coffee-making rituals and slamming drawers shut with his hip and knowing — just knowing! — that you will one day regret not letting him rest his feet on yours at night in that nightly faux battle of the bed.
You mean a summer kind of love, conversations spooling into the night over tumblers of wine in the backyard, fireflies and twinkle lights dotting a night thick with the warmth and contentment of the letter he wrote to you the day your daughter was born, and redolent with the pride in his voice — yes, pride! — when he says: “This is my wife, Jennifer.”
That kind of love.
I don’t know how you find that kind of love.
It feels like it was born before the wind.
Bigger than me, bigger than him —
Forged by something greater.
And yet I would be remiss not to offer, humbly,
That while I am lucky this love chose us,
We have anointed it with kindnesses. Oh Lord, I annoy him, to be sure, but I watch him — time after time — just let it all go, and so I do the same. He carves out a space for me, generous enough to accommodate my alternate bignesses and smallnesses, and I climb right in next to him and oh yes —
This kind of love bears all things.
+Thank you to my girlfriend for prompting me to sit in gratitude for “this kind of love” over a year ago. I haven’t thought of my relationship with my husband the same way since.
+You may have caught the reference to Van Morrison in the post above (“born before the wind”): his music is dotted through our love story.
+Or you can read it in parts. The Jeep plays a prominent role.
+Father’s Day is coming up! Gifts for the men we love.
+I think I speak for everyone when I say this is the perfect everyday summer dress. Just as cute with strappy slides as with sneakers!
+I mentioned this jumpsuit over the weekend, but how cute with these $20 slides?!
+THIS DRESS! This brand also has cute shorts in the same fabric, 40% off!
+This bow-shouldered top is $25 and beyond darling — love the scallop trim!
+OK, I’ve never been able to go all-in on Birks despite wanting to, but I have seen so many women wearing these $45 Freedom Moses sandals the past week and might need to take a plunge. I like them in the white or pastel blue.
+Um, these shorts. I need for at-home lounge or over a swimsuit. I’m so into this throwback look for weekend!
+Cult Gaia has such good shoes out right now — I love these!
+This $60 gingham dress reminds me of a similar style from The Great!
+I am intrigued by this Tula product I’ve seen SO many bloggers tout, but I feel as though Magpies have given “smeh” feedback on their products in the past…
+All of the other beauty/skincare products I’m currently testing or considering testing.
+On-trend top to pair with a maxi skirt or jeans.
+I’m not a big cut-off denim kind of girl (any more, at least — college Jen would disagree), but these feel somewhat grown-up. I imagine tucking a white button-down into them.
+Those shoes feel tailor-made for these cute shorts (which come with a great and versatile belt I would use a lot with other dresses, too).
+Great bags for summer adventures.
+And what to pack if you’re going on a proper summer adventure / vacation.
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8 thoughts on “An Easy Kind of Love.”
Such a sweet post! I loved reading it, and I agree with Connor — it reads like a novella. Love.
I know what you mean about denim cutoffs … I traded all of my older, shorter, more-distressed pairs for some mid-length ones from AGOLDE with minimal distressing, and I think they work, even at age 37! Haha!
Thank you!! 🙂
Really nice post.
Thank you, Cynthia!!
This brought tears to my eyes; what an absolutely stunning portrait you paint of the beauty that is love. This is a novel in a few paragraphs.
Thank you so much, Connor. So flattered by this generous note. xx
I’m DYING over the wordless love captured in that photo. It takes my breath away!
Your friend expressing she wanted that love was like a trigger for me. Many years ago (before I was engaged to my husband and just dating) I was standing in the kitchen at a party with many girls and one girl looked at me and said, “I want a man just like the guy you’re dating”! I’m sorry, what? I was shocked speechless. I didn’t have any words or response, just a smile and thought what girl does that?
Reading your blog today helped me put it all into perspective today, so many years later that I’m almost embarrassed to admit it. I’ve pondered it every so often over the years, but with no understanding until today. We probably did project a love and happiness together as we were and still are today! Such blessings!
Thank you for opening my eyes!
Hi Cynthia! Such a sweet note. I can imagine having a similar reaction to a comment like that — what!? — but I’m guessing she just meant she wanted “an easy kind of love.” Such a testament to your relationship with your husband!