How do I love thee? Simple compassion.

(We have to drive A. back to Yale this morning for an incision check, so this will be a short one! Trust me, though– it’s a very important one, at least in my eyes.)

 

When I was a freshman in college, I lived in an all-girl dorm. I met all the other young ladies in my hall. Admittedly, I didn’t really become best buddies with any of them, but we all got along just fine. The girl in the single around the corner was one of the first I bumped into. Her name was Julie, and she was very friendly.

 

Though I never lived near or saw much of Julie after that year in college, our paths would cross again. It turns out she would wind up being a bridesmaid in a wedding I attended. My then boyfriend’s college roommate was getting married. My guy would be in the wedding. So would Julie.

 

Julie lived with severe cerebral palsy. She was small and theĀ curvatureĀ of her spine made her appear even more so. She could walk, but with great difficulty. Her speech was sometimes difficult to make out. She could not easily turn her head or rotate her body.

 

There she stood in lavender satin, looking both happy and nervous.

 

We waited to see where they wanted my guy. He really hadn’t gotten many details other than when to be there and what to wear. (This is what happens when guys communicate.) Anyway, his former roommate walked over, shook his hand, “nice to see you again”, all that. And then he added, “I told Jenn I thought you should be paired with Julie. That okay with you?”

 

My man just met his gaze, “Of course– why wouldn’t it be?”

 

And, tall, dark, and handsome in his tux, he offered Julie his arm. She didn’t rest her fingers daintily the way one might typically see in a wedding. This arm? Wasn’t just for show. She needed it. And he was happy to give it.

 

It took longer for the two of them to make their way into the church than the bride, I’m quite certain. Some people fidgeted in their seats as the organist restarted the music to fill the time.

 

But that guy I loved… he never rushed or faltered. He tipped his head down toward Julie when she said something and I saw him smile. When she tired, he simply bore more weight and got her there.

 

The wedding was lovely. When it was over, the newlyweds thanked him for handling it so well. I think their praise made him far more uncomfortable than being paired with Julie had.

 

Me? Everything I’d known about this man was just confirmed.

 

He and I were engaged two weeks later.

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