To Marry a Man

I remember puzzling at the smoke and then asking. They answered. I distinctly remember thinking of spraining an ankle, you know, how you have about two beats knowing that this is going to hurt right before the pain floods in? I could re-stage the room from my memory of those two beats.

When the Pentagon got hit, I called my husband and asked him to leave his skyscraper office. The Houston Ship Channel is close to downtown. A solid hit there could produce extensive secondary damage. He refused. He would not hide or flee -- he threw out many wobbly verbs to counter my pleas. I naively called my father-in-law to ask him to pull rank on my husband. He answered me gently but was no less resolute than his son.

I was so frustrated with him. Didn't he understand that I was scared? And in that moment, I finally realized what it was to marry a man -- not just a male, but a man. He would stand in harm's way, regardless of the hurt I might face to lose him. I caught my first glimpse of that solemn pride.

Now, I rely upon his resolve just as I am terrified of it. The burden gets worse, knowing I'm raising my son to be that kind of man. One day it could cost me more than I could bear. But my husband has his resolve. And I have mine.