Ramadan started last week. Around the world, Muslims are fasting, allowing nothing to pass their lips from sunrise to sunset. My husband is one of them.
At seven am the alarm goes off, often my husband is already awake, being one of those people with an annoyingly accurate internal clock. He’s out the door for work before seven thirty. He doesn’t have a cup of coffee or a granola bar for breakfast and he doesn’t kiss me goodbye before he leaves.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which means it gradually moves throughout the year. The first year my husband and I were dating, Eid, the celebration at the end of Ramadan, happened right around Thanksgiving. The fact that holy month moves around the calendar combined with fasting times that are based on sunrise and sunset means fasting in July is different than fasting in November.
By the time my husband comes home at five, the hunger is present, but there’s still three and a half hours to go. As the clock ticks towards 8:30, my husband starts preparing his meal. He’s decided to celebrate the season by cooking Kitchari, a rice+lentil combination the color of scrambled eggs. He’s also made Chicken Curry so spicy the fumes made my eyes water.
I stand in the kitchen, watching the digital readout on the microwave flip numbers as he arranges his plate and glass at the table. I call out the time. 8:27. My husband breaks his fast with a sip of water. The first thing he has tasted all day. Before he moves on to the spicy food, I lean in for a kiss (or three). Our first kiss of the day. Finally, he’ll turn to his plate.
I’ve already eaten. Since I’m not fasting, I eat my dinner earlier in the evening. I’ve never been a big believer in the old absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think my heart is just as fond no matter the distance. But as I walk into the other room, I can’t help but think about the power of abstaining. It’s like pressing the reset switch. My kiss at 8:30 in the evening seems to have more meaning, more something because I’ve waited for it. It is not second nature or ordinary. It is a treat, something infinitely special. I am reminded to be appreciative and grateful for all the small blessings in my life. The things that seem so ordinary that I’ve taken them for granted. A nice place to live, food on the table, kisses from my husband.
Ramadan is less than a week old, but I’m already feeling the impact. I’m going to appreciate the fact that I get to kiss my husband every single day rather than mistake it for ‘everyday’.