As I gradually sort through what remains of Chris’s papers, I’m finding some hidden gems. This is one of a pair of red leather-bound notebooks that she bought in Switzerland. She gave one to me and kept one for herself. It is unmarked apart from one page on which she has pasted the lyrics to Peter Gabriel’s The Book of Love.
I treasure it because she arranged for some lines from the song to be inscribed on a piece of pottery that our friend Kathy Skerritt commissioned for us as a wedding gift. Kathy had asked us to let her have poetic messages to one another to decorate the bowl. I chose a line from a poem I’d written for Chris and she chose these words:
THE BOOK OF LOVE IS FULL OF FLOWERS AND HEART-SHAPED BOXES AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING AND THINGS WE’RE ALL TOO YOUNG TO KNOW. AND I LOVE IT WHEN YOU SING TO ME, AND YOU CAN SING ME ANYTHING.
When I first saw the words on the bowl, I thought they were beautiful but didn’t know where they had come from and didn’t think to ask. I knew that she didn’t mean them literally because my singing voice is very poor. It was a declaration of love and unconditional acceptance.
I was very moved by the words when we unwrapped the gift and I wept again when I found the words of the song in the notebook and saw how it ended.
AND I, I LOVE IT WHEN YOU GIVE ME THINGS. AND YOU, YOU OUGHT TO GIVE ME WEDDING RINGS. YOU OUGHT TO GIVE ME WEDDING RINGS.