This started out as an original thought in 2000 and in answering the challenge I thought it could be more.
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"Out of all your getting, get an understanding," was the beginning of one of my grandmother's favorite recitation. When her words come to me, I can hear her--see her, striving to teach us, my sister and me that the simplest and easiest way to get around in this world is to have a good understanding. To be clear about what is expected of you and what it is that you expect of others. To understand that no one will know you well enough to read your mind and instantly supply your wants and deepest needs. She would stand over us making us listen to every verse especially when we were being purposefully obtuse about what she wanted us to do.
"Out of all your getting, get an understanding. You have to be willing and honest enough with yourself and others to tell them what you want and need. You have to be willing and honest enough with yourself and others to live with what they are able to give. You have to be willing and honest enough to forgive when others are not able to be what you want or need. You have to be willing and honest enough to hear what others are honest enough to share with you.”
“What?” I yell back from the bathroom.
“Do you mean what you’ve written here?”
“That’s not for you to read.”
“You left it open.”
“I had urgent business.”
“As I was saying, do you mean what you’ve written?”
“What did I write?” Folding the towel I used to dry my hands I place it on the counter and walk to where he sits. Handing me the diary he taps a page and waits patiently while I read.
I stare at my mate not angry that he’s reading my thoughts, just surprised that he’d found that page interesting enough to ask about. Especially since a large portion of this volume is about him. Not always in a good light but as honest as I can be. I know I’m not an easy person to live with and I try to give him the credit he’s do for staying with me through some beautiful as well as horrific times.
And standing there watching him waiting for an answer I begin to understand.
“What did you do or what do you want to do?”
He looks down hedging--thinking of the best way to convenience me of whatever it is he wants.
“We’ve been married for forever and I think it’s time we get tattoos.”
“Tattoos?” I echo.
“A good Christian young’n like you wants a tattoo.”
I sit on the bed next to him equating “Get an Understanding” with tattooing his body. But if that’s what he wants then I have no argument.
“What do you want and where?”
“No just me.”
“We should get his and her tattoos, your name across my chest and mine on across your breast.”
I can’t believe the goofy grin that on his face.
“How long have you been planning this?”
“Long enough to find an excellent shop, have several designs drawn up, and pay for them.”
I’m beginning to lose my good feeling at his presumption.
“Before you blow, take a look.”
He pulls several sheets from his wallet. On the first sheet in simple but elegant script is my name in a bed of pale blue and yellow lilies, the colors of our birthstones. I move the second sheet to the top. On it is a row of black dots.
“Smart, yes?” He rubs a finger across the top of my right breast.
“When?” I ask.
I can’t help but smile as I fold the pages and put them in my diary.