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The Feet I Stand On

I think it was two years ago. The feelings have blurred along with the distorted wholeness of my memory of it, but I remember the foot rub.

In the midst of extreme fatigue and the heavy weight on my shoulders from being the single director and possibly the only sane one left after that nights event, I was sullen, angry and frustrated even after the concert ended. No sense of achievement even after the torrents of congratulatory wishes, or maybe I had, but was too numbed to feel it. The only remotely human feeling I had left was the prodding pain in my feet from running around the entire day in high heels. I fell into bed without removing the heels, and just wanted to pass out and sleep off the pain and the nagging emptiness that was too empowering for me to ignore.

He climbed into bed and lied next to me. The lights were still on and I can hear our breathing echoing against the wall. The thing with me is, I turn silent and shut down under extreme emotions, or the lack thereof. Sensing my reluctance for any form of verbal communication, he waited. The prodding in my feet ensued and I waited. And then he did something unexpected. He switched off the lights, removed the blanket from my body, took off my heels and socks and started massaging my feet.

Now under normal circumstances that could have been sensual and possibly conjured up foreplay-like images in my head. But that night, that night it felt different. It felt different because it was such a simple gesture that came just when I needed it. It speaks to me of understanding, accommodation and affection, and it was beautiful because it was pure. It tore down the layers of camouflage I had unwittingly built around me and I felt liberated. Suddenly the politics, the mind-games, the anxiety, the under-appreciation, the power play and everything that was consuming and eating me up inside just blurred into the background. The world feels right again, and I was reminded again of the very reasons how it all started, and why I am here. And why we are.

A good relationship has a pattern like a dance and is built on some of the same rules. The partners do not need to hold on tightly, because they move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but gay and swift and free, like a country dance of Mozart’s. To touch heavily would be to arrest the pattern and freeze the movement, to check the endlessly changing beauty of its unfolding. There is no place here for the possessive clutch, the clinging arm, the heavy hand; only the barest touch in passing. Now arm in arm, now face to face, now back to back — it does not matter which. Because they know they are partners moving to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together, and being invisibly nourished by it.

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh


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