6 years ago yesterday, I walked barefoot down my childhood front lawn and skittered into place alongside the Adonis that I woke up next to this morning. Scratch that – he woke up at 6am, I woke up at 9:45, so I suppose that should read “that guy that I fell asleep next to last night.”
Marriage is a delicate piece of art, I think: beautifully intricate with sharp edges and complex details, hard to balance, and ultimately… wicked easy to break. I like to think that I’m still pretty young [at 28], but even now, I have peers at seemingly every stage of the marriage game.
Some friends are experiencing that intoxicating punch-drunk love of a new relationship, hanging on the every chirp of their lover, and sweeping most contradictions or character flaws under the living room carpet, knowing for sure that “they won’t always be like that”. While sweet, this makes me giggle and snort a little, because the substance of what C had to deal with years ago… well, let’s just say that they don’t make rugs that big.
Other friends have just tied the knot/sealed the deal/bit the bullet/jumped the broom/taken the plunge. If you are, or have ever been married, you remember the mixed emotions that live here: you are elated to finally have crossed such a thick line intact, but are repeatedly faced with the reality that your spouse is in one day able to slide into a hot getup for a friend’s wedding in the afternoon, then impress you post-event by farting under the covers all night due to the amount of cocktail hour pot-stickers he/she consumed at the expense of Mrs. Newlywed’s parents. I like to refer to this stage of marriage as the “shock and awe” segment of the game. The jury is still out back deliberating punishment for crimes like this.
I have friends and mentors that are nearing (or have reached) the 30 and 40-year marks of their journey, and they have somehow (my parents included) managed not to kill each other, if only by a small margin of error. Still, these are my heroes. In that instance when I find every drawer open and the toilet unflushed (again), I wonder how these individuals restrained from putting a few drops of laxative in the next morning’s French roast. Though when I realize that I’ve begged him to scratch my back/rub my feet/massage my scalp every night for the last 5+ years (and he has obliged, more than 1,800 times), I’m surprised that C hasn’t suffocated me in my sleep and rolled me out the back door, if only because his hands just can’t take it anymore.
There are others in my life that are going through, or have already endured the indescribable pain and confusion of dissolving their marriages. When I’ve watched this process or heard their stories, I think of how an amputee must feel after surgery. Regardless of the disease, the gangrene, the pain of the limb in question, the loss is felt at almost an atomic level. Something that was, is no longer. I know that my tears don’t change or mend any part of the wound, but most of the time I can’t help but offer them anyway. I can only be thankful for what I, at this moment, do have.
So C, thanks a bunch. You’ve made this 6-year road trip a good one. Thanks for hitting all the rest stops (and some of the wooded areas) so that I can pee every half-hour, and for letting us get ice cream to break up the long stretches. When you’ve felt like leaving me at the Auntie Anne’s Pretzel shop because I’ve asked you to slow down again, or I’ve brought the cat in the car with us, which is always a bad idea, thank you for instead parking us at a scenic overlook so we can each take a short walk in opposite directions and start the next leg of the trip fresh.
Thank you, I love you. You make my life a better journey.
With more snacks.