He loved her the way the rain loves flowers. He gave everything, pouring himself out for her until he hit the ground, broke apart and was devoured by her. He did it to watch her grow, to see her beauty bloom and be a part of it. “I have no grace or beauty.” He told her as his calloused hands with thick muscled palm pulled her to him by the shoulder so he could kiss her. “I just work and labor. I have my strength and skills and that’s all. I’m just a man.” She melted into him, softening her stance so his abrupt movements appeared fluid. Her voice was melodic and her eyes were bright. She was young and hopeful, full of ideas and spunk. His heavy body and grounded lifestyle gave him levity and calm. He worked in the family business, never left his home town. His best friends were 2 cousins and a boy from 2nd grade. She blew into his life-like a silk scarf caught up in the wind. He didn’t know what she meant or what she did but she was everything he ever knew of beauty. Before she even knew him he was protecting her, making sure the mechanic gave her an honest quote on her ignition repair, nailing reinforcements under part of her rotting front steps. Making sure she didn’t get caught up with some fool who sent her too many drinks at the Noisy Cricket. He wasn’t looking for something in return. He was just a giver. He gave himself to others so he could watch them prosper. It was how he understood success in his heart and so he followed it. But she was like nothing he’d known before. His quiet protection gave her wings. His private darkness gave her light. His watering gave her fuel and energy. His hearty, steadfast work gave her soil to steady her roots so her blooms could grow tall. And his appreciation of her gave her scented, colorful petals. They were the unlikeliest of lovers. And despite his unimaginative mind and clumsy hands, in the end it was clear that he was the artist. He created her by giving her the patience and distance and stability she needed to burst from her seed and bloom.