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of silver knights and fairy tales
pondering the first ten years
by tracey l. kelley (@TraceyLKelley)

You looked so dashing that night, in your dark woolen overcoat, silk scarf layered in the folds. I glanced at you and thought, “I’ve never before had a man I could describe as dashing.”

Maybe it was the flicker of streetlights, or maybe the wine with dinner, or maybe wishful thinking, but I peeked up at you again and there you were, aged, with slivers of silver at your temples, more creases around the eyes, and like magic I knew this was you and me and we together, older, but together.

I just knew.

I'd been told before there were no knights, no shiny armor, no cavalcade of horses, steamy from the ride and certainly no castles on a hill surrounded by wildflowers and songbirds. And they were right. I'd had rogues and dancing jesters, ogres and sly ones slinking from dark alleys, yes, but until this point, no knights.

A knight has less to do with glamour and position and more to do with bravery, gallantry, and truth. They embody honor and loyalty and dedication. Knights battle sometimes when they don’t want to, but inherently understand that, for the good of all things, they need to. Their rewards are few, their hardships frequent, but they endure, in life and in legend.

Yet, they exist, don’t they? They're whom we long for, whom we are sure to love.

That’s what I chose to believe.

And so began our tale.

There have been times when I felt unworthy of a knight’s love, a knight like you. You, the Constant. Keeping a metronome’s rhythm of routine and right. Then there's me: free of the gates, running through the meadow, barefoot, wild, searching, always as I'd been but even more so now, secure, as you watched from the tower. Sometimes I ran farther away than intended. And still you watched, waited.

Is this love? Or just yours?

The battles have been many. So it is when spirited lovers unite. Sometimes I’m beside you, fencing and jousting in synchronous accord as we meet the
challenges before us. Other times I stand before you, ash marks on my cheek, waving a firebrand, not to be overrun, always to be considered. Whispers and tears in the night always fade as the morning's pink light slips through an arched window.

And I wonder again why us, why this, why now?

Few get to share the adventures we have. High mountains conquered, a cross of regions bared, the wave of persons met, kept and lost that are part of who we are, and who we once were. We continue to seek, questioning our restlessness but together in our desire to grow, learn and explore. Sometimes we ride with each other, other times in opposite directions alone, but we always return to stoke the fire.

For would our adventures mean the same without each other?

As the maiden, I greet you as an older vision than you remember, yet as quick in spirit, thought, laughter and affection as you know, eyes full of mischief and delight. My hair is not fit for climbing, but you still bury yourself in it. You retain a knight's erect carriage, and a wise settling about your face that tells all that you’ve seen and all that you know, yes, but with lips just as soft, hands just as strong and eyes sparkling and alive.

How can someone, anyone at all, not believe in magic when there is this?

What else could it be? Magic and faith and the alchemy of gold and silver and sun-tipped poppies and warm fuzzy kittens and all that is good and just, for surely we, no more than anyone else, deserve these moments, have earned these moments, just because?

I often reach back to that one night, that image of you, briefly older than you are now, but young and very much present. Dashing in your woolen coat, holding me close in the curve of your arm. I remember the light of that one second, that one perfect realization of love, as close to what I knew of it then, which is about as much as I know now.

What is love, after all?

A stone of ache wrapped in rose petals and tangled linen?
Commitment and joy served warm on gold-tinted china?
The patience of what’s passed, what could be, and what's here, now?
Harmony merging dissonant chords until the final notes are played through?

See? About as much as I know now.

Is love, however indefinable, enough to keep the knight, however elusive, riding back home? And the maiden, home waiting?


And so it has been, all these ten years.

The first few chapters of our tale are complete, dog-eared and even underlined in places. There are times when I rely on my familiarity with our characters, the sense of place we’ve created, and the comfort of presumably knowing what will happen next.

Then you smile.

And I am happy to know nothing, nothing at all.


Tracey likes to shake things up and then take the lid off. She also likes to keep the peace, especially in a safe, fuzzy place. Writer, editor, producer, yogini, ('cause yoger or yogor simply doesn't work) by day, rabid WordsWithFriends and DrawSomething! player by night. You can follow her on Twitter: @traceylkelley or @tkyogaforyou

more about tracey l. kelley


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by tracey l. kelley
topic: general
published: 9.26.05

pick on someone your own kind
caring for, and about, your pets
by tracey l. kelley
topic: general
published: 1.30.06


daniel castro
4.28.04 @ 4:35p


sloan bayles
4.28.04 @ 4:45p

double wow...

sarah ficke
4.28.04 @ 4:53p

Awwww.... dammit, where's my box of tissues?

dan gonzalez
4.28.04 @ 5:01p

Man, I'm a sucker for romance, great piece. Where is a windmill when I need one?

lisa r
4.28.04 @ 5:34p

*sniffle* Ah spring, when young women's and men's fancies lightly turn to thoughts of love, and Tracey turns us all to mush with her wonderfully crafted prose.

trey askew
4.28.04 @ 9:09p


matt kelley
4.29.04 @ 8:35a

Gee, now I'm rethinking the vacuum I got you for our anniversary. Maybe I should've gone with the Hoover.

sloan bayles
4.29.04 @ 8:44a

Naw, you should've gone with Rainbow baby!!

sloan bayles
4.29.04 @ 8:45a

Oh, I'm sorry, was she referring to you in this?!

matt kelley
4.29.04 @ 9:25a

You poking me with a verbal stick, Sloany Baloney? I'll be in RDU soon, toting a batch of wedding pictures from a decade hence to show all the IM gang, some of which feature you in a bridesmaid's dress and with hair big enough to have gotten you a walk-on role in a Twisted Sister video.

adam kraemer
4.29.04 @ 10:09a

Says the man whose wife's "I Think We're Alone Now" photo is gracing the top of this page.

lisa r
4.29.04 @ 10:18a

Oh, my...this is getting mighty interesting....I really hate my NC trip is going to miss this shindig by about a week.

tracey kelley
4.29.04 @ 10:41a

I'm rethinking the vacuum I got you for our anniversary.

Apparently, I married a jester after all.

Y'all really think I'd let M* give me a vacuum for our anniversary?

PUH-Lease. He knows better.

jael mchenry
4.29.04 @ 10:59a

Then...two vacuums?

matt morin
4.29.04 @ 11:24a

It's all about the Swiffer™. There's the real love.

adam kraemer
4.29.04 @ 11:29a

Oooh...a Swiffer!

sloan bayles
4.29.04 @ 11:39a

That's okay Matt*, nothing could've crumbled my ego more than your precious "favorite boy" asking if I made my hair that big so people would laugh at me. Fortunately for him, he was only 3 at the time.

Thanks for helping me out here Adam :)


sarah ficke
4.29.04 @ 11:45a

A salad spinner. Nothing says love like a salad spinner.

russ carr
4.29.04 @ 11:54a

Ehh. I confided to Brendan last week that the salad spinner was just Mommy's way of dealing with lawnmower envy.

For symbolism, nothing beats an electric nut chopper.

sloan bayles
4.29.04 @ 12:04p

Lawnmower envy
He, he, he..riiiight

dan gonzalez
4.29.04 @ 12:54p

I didn't know women could get lawmmower envy. It's dangerous. It begins innocuously enough as a small hand-tool inadequacy complex, but before long can erupt into a full-on case of Garage Inferiority Dysfunction.

sarah ficke
4.29.04 @ 1:29p

I've spent enough time with lawnmowers to know they're not worth my envy.

matt morin
4.29.04 @ 1:42p

This column was really sweet and nice. I'm just glad Tracey didn't tell us all how she calls him "Sir Lancelot" or what he's nicknamed "Excalibur."

Seriously though, congrats on 10 years. That's 17 times longer than any relationship I've been in.

tracey kelley
4.29.04 @ 3:47p

Ya'll are too good to me.

At first, I thought "Well, 10 years married is a milestone, sure, but compared to what, exactly?" Like any friendship, there's a history and connection that is hard to match elsewhere. But I realized how comforting it is to me to say, "Oh, I knew this person X" or "We've been togeher Y" or "I remember...." It's like a different badge of honor, I guess.

adam kraemer
4.29.04 @ 4:13p

Seriously though, congrats on 10 years. That's 17 times longer than any relationship I've been in.

You did the math on this one, didn't you?

roger striffler
4.29.04 @ 4:23p

Amazing Trace, just frickin' amazing.

roger striffler
4.29.04 @ 4:23p

And you know it's good when both Adam and Morin were too caught up to mention "a knight's erect carriage".

adam kraemer
4.29.04 @ 4:27p

Isn't that the thing that turns into a pumpkin at midnight?

tracey kelley
4.29.04 @ 4:44p

And you know it's good when both Adam and Morin were too caught up to mention "a knight's erect carriage"

Yes but no - Russ emailed that to me privately.

Somebody had to do it!

matt morin
4.29.04 @ 4:44p

You did the math on this one, didn't you?

Yeah. I did. It's a slow day at work.

And you know it's good when both Adam and Morin were too caught up to mention "a knight's erect carriage".

I think that combination of words caused my brain to skip like a bump on a record player.

tracey kelley
4.29.04 @ 4:56p


But you whipped out the "Excaliber" reference pretty quickly, eh?

lisa r
4.29.04 @ 6:15p

Have the guys been reading medieval bodice rippers again?

lisa r
4.29.04 @ 10:20p

I didn't know women could get lawmmower envy. It's dangerous. It begins innocuously enough as a small hand-tool inadequacy complex, but before long can erupt into a full-on case of Garage Inferiority Dysfunction.

Who says guys should have all the fun with power tools and heavy equipment? I love riding lawn mowers, tractors, front-end loaders....There's a reason Kenny Chesney had such a hit with "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy".


sloan bayles
4.29.04 @ 10:31p

I love riding lawn mowers, tractors, front end loaders...

Watch out Lisa, you're allowing room for some dangerous ribbing with that.

lisa r
4.30.04 @ 7:31a

*snicker* As long as they remember, I don't get mad I get even. ;)

adam kraemer
4.30.04 @ 9:57a

Why not both?

lisa r
4.30.04 @ 10:05a

Well, sometimes I do get mad, but getting even's more fun. ;)

adam kraemer
4.30.04 @ 10:21a

Hmm...I've always felt that getting odd was more fun.

tracey kelley
4.30.04 @ 11:49a

Welcome back, dear. Your glib has been missed.

lee anne ramsey
5.1.04 @ 2:01a

A day late and a canadian dollar short, but Tracey, this was wonderful. I echo the "sniffle"...

tracey kelley
5.1.04 @ 8:57p

Thank you, thank you - always glad to have you ring in!

Matt* is still a little perplexed that this piece, which I wrote as a love letter to him for our anniversary, I also used as a column.

THEN he remembers he proposed to me in front of a million radio listeners and says, "ah. right."

Plus, I like sharin' the luv.

lisa r
5.1.04 @ 9:20p

Awww...there go the warm fuzzies again. I don't suppose there are any more where he came from? I haven't found MY Prince Charming yet.

r. borden
5.3.04 @ 5:59p

Knights in shining armor are available in Iowa for the price of a few beers. Jesters fall down drunk; knights still look dashing. Hmm, maybe on the second date. My Iowan knight was pretty goofy on the first. Congrats Tracey and Matt. We'll see you soon, Holly

heather millen
5.6.04 @ 12:56p

Beautiful, Trace! I can't wait to toast your 10 years together next week!

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