Jessica & Eric
It's the way he looked at her.
And it wasn't just for pictures. When she walked past him with a drink or snuggled with one of their daughters Eric's eyes followed and settled on Jessica. It was like he was seeing light and it was soothing out the rough parts of his soul. Even though he knew where she was his eyes searched for her, constantly finding and admiring.
"You've got to get pictures of dad looking at mom," their daughters told me, smiling at one another like they were keeping some lovely secret. I didn't think there would be much to it. It would be cute or romantic, of course. But how unique can a look be after you've been married for over 20 years?
I was wrong.
I was so wrong.
Somehow Eric looks at Jessica like he's seeing her for the first time and the last time all at once. Maybe in his line of work that's how he feels. Maybe Eric gets it. Maybe, through the years of being in the brutality of police work, he can more clearly see the unpolluted nature of his relationship with Jessica and he looks at her with admiration and wonder because she's still there. In a line of work that so clearly shines light on the filth and sadness of the world there shines Jessica, bright, whole, safe, and accepting of all that Eric is.
Eric looked at Jessica as if seeing her was unburdening his spirit. Like, he could breath easy because Jessica, his Jess, was there . . . and if she was there things would be more than alright.
Don't get concerned thinking that Eric just has blinders on and doesn't notice the flaws Jessica has. He knows she's not perfect. But he's also painfully aware he isn't either. Yet, somehow, that makes their love all the more beautiful. Here are two imperfect people. People who have made mistakes, who will make mistakes again, and who fall short of who they would like to be.
But they love each other anyway!
They love each other through the disappointments.
They choose devotion over blame.
They keep showing up even though they know it's gonna be hard.
But they show up together. They hold one to each other and choose every day to see the light in the other instead of the dark. And that act, that profound act of faith and love, makes them shine brighter.
So, if you ever meet Eric and Jessica, watch him as he watches her. Watch how she moves freely because she knows Eric is there, steady and constant. It's a love you can see, a love you want to build in your own life because seeing theirs makes you think that type of love could be yours if you just tried and opened your eyes and looked.
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