There are looks you can’t fake, not even for photos, joy being chief among them. You can see it in my face in photos from my wedding, a kind of light in the eyes that can’t be manufactured. I don’t remember my husband’s vows. I don’t even remember all of my own, though mine, at least, are somewhere written down. I can’t tell you who all the guests were nor can I name the types of flowers, only some of them: the hydrangea, the orchid, green ones in my hair. I’ve never looked at my wedding dress since the day I took it off. But I remember that joy, can show you that in pictures.
It’s that the boy wears on his face as he slides down the fresh snow hill, a slide of white tumbling after him, that look he wears when he tosses chunks of it onto the road, when he builds tiny mounds with it, when he trudges circles in it around the tree out front, joy that for the first time since we’ve moved to this house, there’s enough snow to play in. He wears joy easily, my son, finds it after snowballs and video games and dollar toys from Target that we fling at the window where we watch them stick, then tumble down, joy when I tickle him while reading his favorite story, joy at surprise ice cream or unexpected turkeys in a winter field outside the car window, joy. He wears it well.
It can’t be faked. You know it when you see it, joy, and other things too. I wear joy most when watching him, the small boy, had worn it in recent years, maybe briefly, for someone else, in whose look was something I recognized, even if I left it unnamed. It can’t be faked. Had he seen it? Had he cared when it was gone? I want to wear joy now when driving in cars where I watch the trees, to wear joy when the boy dances across the floor, joy when there are flowers in my hand or music in my head, joy when the line ends just right, joy for the fresh apples in the kitchen and the morning hot coffee, I want to wear all the kinds of joy a man can’t take.
And when the boy laughs, and loves me unexpectedly and always, when the boy tumbles through the snow and stops at my feet, I do, I do.
You can see it in my face.