Okay, everyone needs to read this beautiful story today on the Washington Post — the love story of Bill and Shelley. And make sure you watch the video, do NOT miss that. Have some tissues. If this doesn’t make you blub, even a little, well, you’re reptilian, or my ex-husband.
Finished? Had a good sniffle? Want someone to do the bootie shuffle with in the kitchen?
I loved this story. If you want to be hopeful about love, learn from the example of Bill and Shelley, two intellectually disabled (or whatever the PC term is these days) young people spending their first married Valentine’s Day together. They demonstrate so clearly what I try to say every day here at Chump Lady — love isn’t complicated. Good relationships are not hard with good people. It’s about finding someone to sit on the sofa with. You gets you. Who sees you as just beautiful.
“When I see her, she’s like a bright penny,” says Bill, who tucks his T-shirts into his jeans and wears a belt beneath his round belly. “She’s like the color of orange, like a real joyful, lively spirit. Her love is like pink. There is so much good in her that I really fell in love with.”
“Awww, honey,” Shelley says, blushing and pushing up her red-framed glasses. For her, she adds, the real gift is being “with someone who understands me. When other people think I’m talking in circles, he knows what I’m talking about. I don’t have to explain it. He just gets me.”
People with mental impairments were not always allowed to do simple human things, like fall in love and be coupled. They were institutionalized, sterilized. Not much was expected. It’s crazy how we legislate who can be in love and who cannot (I shall now begin my gay marriage rights rant…) One sad thing I found about this story is that Bill and Shelley cannot be legally married or they would lose their health insurance. What hellish loophole is THAT? But they’re committed, and by all purposes to everyone in their lives, they’re married.
When compared with cheaters — who’s to say who the real mental retards are? Bill and Shelley don’t appear too adept at duplicity. They lack the intellectual “advantages” required to arrange a double life, most likely. But that lack of a filter, in the service of love, is a beautiful thing to behold.
But as they sat together in December, watching a video of the wedding ceremony, Bill’s eyes welled up with tears and Shelley stroked his arm. “You were so handsome, honey,” she said.
“I know,” he replied with a nod.
“Don’t worry,” she added. “You’ll always be handsome.”