What My Beasts Taught Me

While they roar their terrible roars, and gnash their terrible teeth

I dreamed of you after I met you. It was so simple: we were standing in a kitchen that was ours and time was nothing. We were old and we were young. So much had happened and not much had changed. None of it mattered: you were there with me. How surprising it was to find myself waking up, knowing. How terrifying. My happiness would be contingent upon knowing that you are okay, opening the gates to a menagerie of beasts that could destroy me.

I have made my peace with it now. I am nudged by the horns of my beasts to forgive you when I am terrifically angry. This is how I would describe love, being tied to a leash of fears that force us to be grateful, to be present, to be kind. It’s very useful, when you are crunching your cereal so loudly I can’t focus on what I’m reading, to have a hippopotamus that whispers do you really wish he were not here to bother you? How quickly then does irritation evolve into something shaming.

I tell you that I love you each day, like going through a turnstile that spits my ticket back at me on the other side. We know what we mean to each other. No, I’ll sometimes say, smoothing the corners of the ticket and feeding it through again for good measure, I love you. (I want to stand in the kitchen with you. I want to eat cereal with you, every damn day. I want to fight with you over nothing and laugh with you over nothing. I am glad—every day—that you are here.) You smile—you can see all the hippos lined up behind me; you have beasts of your own—I know.

Lea Ehret

Lea is a high school English teacher in Nashville, Tennessee who specializes in drinking coffee, making messes, and getting really excited about campfires and airplane peanuts. When she’s not teaching or going on hikes with her husband, she blogs at Hey There Wonder.

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  • JDrives

    This is gorgeous.

    • ns

      agreed. “do you really wish he were not here to bother you?” — so powerful.

      • swarmofbees

        Exactly. Sometimes my FI just chews loudly. Maybe he has a very resonant jaw? But it bothers me, especially if I am in a foul mood anyway. But, it is good to remember that there are more important things to worry about.

      • JDrives

        Yes! That soft little whisper, almost chiding in tone. Got me right in the feels.

  • EmilyRose

    I don’t want to lower the tone, but I definitely mis-read the title as “What my breasts taught me”, and I was very intrigued.

    • Guest

      OMG Ahahaha. That is fantastic.

      • Oh, hey Relic of My Digital Ineptitude Featuring My Giant Face! I cannot figure out how to delete you!

    • Ahahaha. That is fantastic.

    • Heather

      Me too! I actually came back to double check because I was just thinking, “Wait, that didn’t address breasts at all!”

      • EmilyRose

        I got to what I thought was “I am nudged by the horns of my breasts” before I realised I must have the wrong word.

  • MC

    So lovely, thank you. Perfect way to start my morning.

  • oh fuck yeah. that is what im talking about. THANK.YOU.

  • Lily

    This gave me chills in the best possible way. Love your writing.

  • Amanda

    This was so, so beautiful. Start to finish – so honest, so real, so beautiful.

    I love every piece of it, but the second paragraph just does it. “I am nudged by the horns of my beasts to forgive you when I am terrifically angry.” I have felt that so many times but only with him. I can be so angry, so grandstanding with everyone else — it’s a huge, unfortunate fault of mine — but with him, there is always something that nudges me, something that reminds me to be grateful and not mad. Something that softens me and reminds me to love him in this moment for his faults and not in spite of them. I never could quite articulate it but you do so perfectly.

    Oh thank you so much for this. Happy Friday.

  • Heather

    This is such a beautiful post. Thank you for reminding us of having perspective when it comes to love. I often try to remind myself to live in the moment and appreciate it all-good and bad. Because at the end of the day having my fiance in my life makes it my daily experience so much sweeter…. This post put a smile on my face at work :-)

  • Stephanie B.

    “How terrifying. My happiness would be contingent upon knowing that you
    are okay, opening the gates to a menagerie of beasts that could destroy

    Yes. Like a punch to the gut, YES.

    This love, this marriage, this life together is the most down-to-my-marrow terrifying thing I’ve done, because his well-being (so essential to my own) is largely out of my control. And there are moments — tiny ones, seconds, really — where I think “It would have been easier to never do this ridiculous thing, to have never fallen in love.” And it would have been. Easier, I mean. But vastly emptier. Because this love, this marriage, this life together is worth every bit of down-to-my-marrow terror.

  • js

    I am savoring this, because sometimes we all need a reminder of why we make the choices we make and love who we love. Especially when they leave wet towels on the bed ;-). Sometimes I forget how many of my monsters he puts up with, and mine are far more terrible than his.

  • What a beautiful piece!

  • Beautifully written, this made my heart happy :) write more of this on your blog!!