The shapeless form of love
“Baaa-by Be-luuu-u-u-ga! Baaa-by Be-luuu-u-u-ga!” I found myself belting when my wife, Justine, shouted louder than I was singing, “Can you not look at me while you are singing that?”
I did not set out to bully or body shame Justine.
My daughters had been singing the song on and on until I found myself singing it at different times of the day, too.
The tune is catchy.
I was waiting for my coffee to finish dripping; I rested my hands on the counter and spaced out as one often does when you have two toddlers. I started singing the song without knowing it. Unbeknownst to me, or at least to my conscious mind, Justine had entered my line of vision and started changing her shirt almost simultaneously as I started singing just a little louder.
“Baaa-by Be-luuu-u-u-ga!! Baaa-by Be-luuu-u-u-ga!!!”
I don’t think that would’ve normally bothered Justine. She would’ve taken that for what it was; her loving husband was so exhausted that his mind was in another world, even if his eyes were fixed on her body.
But she had recently had a birthday.
She had mentioned how it hit her when she read a job posting from the CIA. She was no longer qualified to be an agent because there was an age cut-out, and she was outside of it.
Not once has Justine looked at me and said: “What a beautiful Sunday afternoon. This is just the perfect day to go to a third world country and destabilize their democracy because… (shrug).”
But it is comforting to know you have the option to do so if you ever want to.
I get what she is going through.
It’s weird to never worry about your age, and all of a sudden, you are.
I am a little ahead of her; I’m facing forty.
I never thought it would bother me, but it has.
My friends are starting to lose their parents, get vasectomies, and vote Republican.
It is all part of aging and becoming the person in the room who starts sentences with, “When I was your age…”
Not a month later, I looked at Justine decorating foam gingerbread men with my youngest daughter, Amélie. I can’t see whether she has aged or not. I’m not blind, and while I do have bad eyesight, I always wear my prescription glasses.
But all I see is her. I don’t know if that makes any sense. It’s just her.
Maybe it is because I am always looking at her eyes.
Most of the time, I’m always looking at her eyes.
I can still look into her eyes and see the same youthful kindness I saw when she turned around and smiled at me the first time I met her.
I get lost in those eyes and know I don’t stand a chance.
I would believe anything she’d tell me.
That’s how hypnotic those eyes are to me, like cobwebs to flies, invisible to regular eyes but kaleidoscopic to the intended prey.
I know I’d never stand a chance to spot a lie if she was ever to tell me one. I would never be able to tell if she was putting up a show about struggling with her age and pretending to be a regular civilian to cover that she is a lethal counterintelligence operative.
In case she is, for my safety, I better stop singing baby beluga.