We have been married nineteen years, as of today. Nineteen years! That's long enough to grow a person who can drive and vote, to go through a couple cars, and to sprout lots of gray hairs. It's a long time.
I was dating a friend of a friend one night about--twenty? Yes, probably twenty years ago, and we went out to the local community college to see an amateur but good magic show. After the show, as we made our way down the steps of the theater building, my date recognized and called out to a friend, the one who was evidently so knowledgeable about magic. And there I saw this slightly tall young man, looking lanky and eccentric in a corduroy jacket and matching bowler hat, smiling very warmly at the two of us. I remember expecting to see a bicycle parked behind him, because something about him had the look of an apparition from the past. Now I think it was the look of an old soul, someone who radiated intelligence from the eyes.
Over the next couple months, it became obvious that I was dating the wrong guy. Even if Mr. Wrong had not behaved as such a jerk, he still would have been a mismatch. Mr. Wrong was into driving way too fast in a sports car that he really couldn't afford in the first place. He was dishonest and cynical. He was very outgoing, was always the life of the party, and often left me standing in a room of strangers while he sought center stage. And to top it all off, he didn't take care of his teeth, and that grossed me out. What was I doing with him? (I fell out of favor with him, too--I didn't fawn over him enough.)
In the meantime, though, before I broke up with Mr. Wrong, we often went out with Mike. One time, I actually fixed Mike up with a young woman I'd known from high school. Time and time again, though, Mike and I would talk to each other more than with anyone else. I believe that was why that jerky boyfriend of mine always invited Mike along: to keep his girlfriend entertained. I was highly amused one night when repeated calls to Mike's house found him not at home, and an exasperated Mr. Wrong exclaimed, "Not home on Saturday night? What's Mike doing on Saturday night?" Imagine, that 4.0 geek not at home--what could he possibly have going? Now he was stuck with me.
Am I writing too much about Mr. Wrong? Not really--I mean, it can't be avoided because he really did bring Mike and me together. And he was pissed about that, which doesn't make any sense at all, but enough about his neuroses. He's part of our history, but he is now a part of the distant past.
We got an apartment together about a month or two before we were actually married. I was just beginning to substitute at local elementary schools, and when they'd call me in the morning, I'd have to bolt out our bedroom door and across the living room to answer the phone. We only had the one phone line. We also had a twelve inch black and white TV in the same room and the furniture my parents had reupholstered when I was about six years old. This was actually a large apartment, so it looked nice and stark.
On our wedding day, we had about twelve members of our family at the courthouse, and a bunch more waiting at a nearby restaurant for our party-reception. The famous memory I have about our wedding is of 3D, Nod, Mike, his parents, and I all sitting around the courthouse, watching the clock, and wondering where Niks, TLP, Aral, and Nivek were. They were all coming together, and I fretted that maybe they'd gotten lost finding the courthouse, which they had. When the four of them trooped in fifteen minutes late, Nivek shrugged and said in his best high-pitched Curly voice, "Mom saw a yard sale." He cracked us up, and then we got married.
In the intervening years, we've moved, become serial cruisers, gotten hooked on Scrabble, run a couple marathons, adopted a cat, visited Mexico, read a lot of the same books, hosted picnics, and gone to parties. And I've changed jobs a few times, and Mike has not.
So, in honor of this day, I must play our song, even though I did it last year. It's a tradition.