reading time: 5 minutes
Written By: Travis Knight
Yes, I am a human. So it goes without saying that I have asked the ultimate question—that luminous query: “What is the meaning of life?” I have always sternly believed that the answer to this can only be found within aloneness. I wouldn’t dare ask my wife a question like this—it would be elusive to the purpose of the question itself. Plus, questions like this are relatable to conversation topics such as politics or religion; not the best dinner conversation. Usually, when these questions get brought up in our house, my wife becomes very stern and my glitching emotions loudly fly around the room like a rabid fly. Before I know it, the question is lost. Soon after we will enter a full-on battle where I usually say some shit like, “Blah, bullshit, blah” and my wife always answers:
“You have opened some strange and dangerous doors in your life. It is time to close them.”
See why I don’t ask my wife this question? I mean come on, who wants to hear THAT?
The latter scene is not just prevalent when I ask my wife this question, but anyone really. That is why everywhere I have lived, I make sure to either construct or find a secluded garden. A place of seamless serenity where I can feel the power of those dormant life cousins that we call plants.
One thing I have learned is that every plant needs a little love to flourish. Water and nutrients will keep them alive, but love will allow them to THRIVE. I play music to my plants, talk to them, and mindfully appreciate their existence. When I am depressed, these remarkable entities will begin to wither—to wilt away as our connection does. Their delicate spices, or life-giving oxygen, or archaic wisdom—all of these things can be found fading away in their falling foliage. Many times, I find myself lost in seclusion while staring at my plant fellows; asking them desperately what the meaning of my life is…
…as if they were Gods.
The last time this happened, my wife was in our cramped kitchen working on a diagram of the female reproductive system. She had stenciled out various parts of the complicated region with colorful shades, various materials, and cloth, while symmetrical placement remained on her side. Nonetheless, she began freaking out because of some academic deadline, and chaos was spewed throughout our constricted kitchen. Her entire being seemed troubled, clouded, dark. I went to bed; avoiding the dastardly display altogether.
“Travis, wake up.”
Eyes half-open, with the new day swirling around into existence, my wife stood at the foot of our bed. As she held her project, her unconfident face discerningly creased with uncertainty.
“What do you think? And don’t lie, I want you to tell me the truth.”
What I was staring at was… it was…outstanding. It was precision—perfection—this diagram was fucking art! Not much of a surprise, my wife is a woman of many talents. Just about anything she does, she does well. English is not her first language and she has conquered that. She drops game in the kitchen, making delicacies that rich-folk pay top buck for. Her photography moves with life, even in its still nature. Play a sport or video game—something competitive—my wife will dominate. Come to think of it, she doesn’t just do everything well, she makes anything she does ART.
As I stared at this beautiful, unsure, and very tired woman, I saw something. Something beyond her thick cloak of strength—that stern “be a man” machoism—that competitive hostility—that damned, “GET A JOB” (even though I have one). No, this time I saw something different.
“…but first, we must notice these delicate gems.”
I saw a radiating creative, an artist misunderstood—one who got tired of showing her unnoticed power—one who gave in. A vulnerable, soft, and caring soul who only wished to bring smiles to those around her. A person who strives to achieve beyond integrity, all to see the shining laughter, or soft love, or sheer WOW in someone’s eyes. Just like plants, we need such motivation to thrive, but first, we must notice these delicate gems.
But how? How can someone help when no one notices the glow they have? When they fight so hard to give to those surrounding, but are exiled with blindness and left alone? That’s when the lightbulb shattered overhead.
This amazing soul—my wife—had been hiding behind this impenetrable fortress for her whole life. That stern “be a man” machoism—that competitive hostility— that damned, “GET A JOB” (even though I have one) —it had all been crafted through years of battle. During her entire life, she had been battling the world for just a sliver of notice towards her artistry; all so she can see others shine. No one listened, no one noticed. Hell, not even me, and I’m her FUCKING HUSBAND!
“…only had it been mere days since I emerged from my last self-implosion.”
Even on this morning, only had it been mere days since I emerged from my last self-implosion. All I have ever cared about is what is going on with myself—fix yourself and you can fix the world—and this has robbed me of many things, including the shining artist who I awoke to on the morning in mention. One who has soothed my soars and who I have shared a room with—a kitchen—a bed—a FUCKING LIFE. Suddenly, the very same question that I would run to my plants with was not just answered, but the answer was staring me in the face. Right in the fucking face, and it had been the whole time.
She was it, and not just because she is my wife. No. Her purpose, the ultimate values that she hid so well from me were part of it. But had she been hiding them? Or was my head so far up my own ass—almost literally—that I had never noticed? Her pure essence, her goals, her creativity, her need to help the world with dedication, innovation, art, fucking love—THAT IS LIFE! The very essence of people like her is the meaning of life.
Momentarily, I entered my own realm—big surprise—and was faced with rows of open, rickety, dark baring doors. In one moment, I closed them so fast that their dilapidated frames nearly fell off their eternal hinges. At the foot’s bed, I saw someone who wasn’t ME for once; this intricate, astonishing diagram of the female reproductive system being held by a distant, scared, dim aura.
“So, what do you think of it? Be honest,” she said.
In all honesty, I became stunned with awe, and all I could tiredly yawn out was:
“That looks fucking great.”
She could detect the awe in my eyes, that I was not lying, that I was SEEING her gift of many.
For the first time in my life, I noticed her, and already, the cloudy veil that plagued her began to subside. I could actually SEE my wife begin to glow…
…and the world already felt like a better place.