Yesterday, after a busy day, we stopped at our local pub for a drink. They are extremely tolerant of the fact that I like to have a tea while Joe has a beer. They don't sell hot drinks so I pick my tea up at a shop across the street and then cart it over to the bar. When I rolled in I noticed the waiter and nodded a hello to him. He called out, "Welcome back, boys." This from a man of 29 to men of 60 - and we like it! I asked Joe if he noticed anything different about the young man, I thought that maybe he'd had a haircut or made some other kind of change - because he looked very different than he had last time we saw him. Joe agreed that there was something different.
Finally, as he passed, we outright asked him. We thought that he'd probably noticed us staring at him as we tried to figure out what was different. It had become a bit of a game for us, you know those puzzles games where they give you two pictures and you have to spot the differences between them? It was like that, and, we couldn't say definitively what it was. "You look different, did you get a hair cut or something." He paused and thought and said, "I'm wearing my fall clothes, but other than that, I don't think there's anything different."
We gave up.
Later, when there was a lull in the need for him to cart beer to and fro, he stopped by to chat. He was telling us about his twenty ninth birthday party which had been held in the upstairs part of the bar. He said that he was surprised to see so many people at his party but that his partner, a fellow he'd lived with for nine years, was good at throwing surprise parties. He didn't notice that while his boss gave a small speech in advance of a toast, his partner had slipped out of the room. When he came back in he was wearing a tuxedo and he walked through the room and proposed, in front of all their friends, by stating his love and desire to spend a lifetime together. He, though shocked having had no idea this was coming, said 'YES' and now they are planning a wedding.
The bar got busy again and he had to rush off and get back to work. As he left we called our 'congratulations' to him and he waved back a big wave accompanied by a bigger smile. He was, quite simply, happy. Really happy.
We both knew, when we saw him, that he looked different. It wasn't any obvious reason for the change in his appearance, in his bearing, it was something else, something intangible. Between last time and this time, someone had publicly said, 'I love you, I want to spend my life with you.' Between last time and this time, he had publicly said, 'I love you back and I want to spend my life with you.' That must be what's different. That act, that public act of declaration, changed him somehow. However slight, the change was noticeable.
I suppose that knowing you are loved matters. I suppose knowing that you will be loved tomorrow and tomorrow's tomorrow changes you.
Love and the right to love publicly, matters.
It changes people.
It frees the mind to see, to imagine, to hope for a lifetime of being held in every storm.
The waiter look different, I suppose, because he felt differently.
I don't know if there is a 'look of love' but there certainly is, and I know because I saw it yesterday, 'the look of being loved.'