It’s Spring so my husband has been working in the yard each weekend. He’s been cutting back extra growth and getting our yard ready for backyard BBQs and Happy Hours. It’s been tough hard work that he enjoys doing on his own, a contrast to the 12 hour days he’s been putting in at his desk at work. I glance out the window while reading my book to check on his progress when I notice our two rosemary bushes in the compose pile. I gasp aloud.
I run outside with tears in my eyes. “You didn’t tell me you were going to pull out the rosemary!” He laughs and says “It grows like a weed you know.” He looks at me strange, finding my reaction odd. I hold back tears. I know he’s clearing the space to extend the deck. I know it will look gorgeous when he is finished…but I really liked those rosemary bushes.
My husband and I grew up together. We took some of the same classes in high school. We had some of the same friends. We went to the same college, even carpooling once a week. It wasn’t until we were in our mid-twenties, attending grad schools in two different states, did we decide to give dating a go.
The summer between my grad school years, he flew me down to Northern California to stay with him for a month while he studied for the Bar. He kept a rigorous study schedule while I slipped down to the pool in his apartment complex and read Anna Karenina. We kept to ourselves during the day, then would come together in the evenings to make colossal stir-frys with our weekend farmers market finds in his wok. His apartment had a balcony that over looked the pool of a ritzier complex next door. It was covered with tall shade trees, perfect for the warmer summer nights. We had a small outdoor table and chairs we had snagged from a trash pile at his law school campus when they were upgrading theirs. Our minds were still lost in our books, we sat silent, happy to eat quietly with each other. The balcony was an oasis for us.
After we cleaned the dinner dishes, we’d head out of the apartment complex to take a long walk through some of the tonier parts of Menlo Park. We had both grown up in the same lower class neighborhoods of East LA , walking past these opulent houses, filled our imaginations for our future. As we walked hand in hand, dreaming together, he would absent mindedly grasp out at a rosemary bush, rubbing his fingers against the herb and then hold it up to my nose to smell. It was a delightful smell in the warm summer night air.
We married that following summer.
Now married for well over a decade, with our own home, I take walks with our boys, blissfully plucking rosemary from front yard walkways. The scent reminds me of falling in love, dreaming of this life we would build together. I hand a bit over for my sons to smell. I wonder what memories the scent will conjure up for them.
At the end of the day, my husband comes in from a full day in the yard and gives me a little squeeze. “ I didn’t know you were so attached to the rosemary bushes. When I finish the yard, I’ll plant you a new one” he plants a kiss on my head. I think he remembered why I like them so much.