It was 18 years ago, today. I was 18 years old. I wish I could say I knew then that he was the one. But when he introduced himself I was smug. Trying to pretend that I was neither affected nor concerned and that I would remain indifferent if he sat beside me or if he moved past. As I already possessed the knowledge of good and evil; garnered by chance and bad choices. But he was cunning, witty, smart –handsome. He sat down and in a sing-song voice said, “Can I tell you that, I just love you.” I had sense enough to know that this was a line. It couldn’t have been reserved for me. But the moment he said it, his hand lighted, briefly upon my knee. He was sincere; his touch correct. I was undone. We shared a Physics class and had passed each other in places. But familiar, we were not. Not even to know one another’s names. But the two hearts knew all. It was confirmed as we watched the movie together; the movie that we had not planned to see. Gritty, complicated, intense emotion splayed on the screen. Love, hate, lust, happiness and grief. At some point I tried muffling the subconscious communications with the stranger by shifting and fidgeting in my seat. But the questions were already being asked, silently. Us? It was our own indecent proposal of sorts. But the two hearts didn’t care. They mingled and brushed against each other, kissing wildly, touching, conversing…wrapping fingers in hair. Do you really want that? Can we be that to each other? Even that? On this our first meeting there was no denying the fact. I knew him and he knew me. Forever.
Fall is swiftly approaching and I can feel it in my soul. All it takes is a couple of cool days and I’m there. Drifting and dreaming about when we first met. Turning 19 and the card he gave me.
As our anniversary draws near, I wonder where the years went. Ten according to a courthouse in Raleigh. Seventeen according to my heart. Are we still happy? We seem happy, but I don’t know for sure. Why? Cause of all the laundry. It makes me want to cry. The clutter too. But the kids? Well the kids are hilarious. They really do bring joy. Otherwise right about now, we might be bored with one another. Except stealing time away from them, is exciting! Especially at night. So is kissing each other amist their wails of “No kissing!”
We talk about our babies and what havoc they’re causing in the same breath as “you know they all need new underwear.” Well I guess that’s parenting. So since we’ve survived yet another kid emergency just this week, and they are all still alive… next month I guess we’ll toast. To the fall and having a somewhat happy family. Dirty laundry included.
Are you married or in a relationship? How long has it been?
Nine months is a long time. It is too long when you are waiting for your first niece to arrive. But today is finally the day! I shall meet her in a few short hours. I have two cameras in my purse and one flip video camcorder. Destined to be the crazy Auntie! I figure I can spoil her much more than I can spoil my own. Course I’ll have to get in line because to hear my Lauren tell it, that baby belongs to her. “I’m going to do everything for her,” she said. “I’ll give her everything that she needs.” So sweet. And all she will need is love.
The kids caught on to my MIA status after a few minutes and began to search upstairs for me. Of course I was here. Just one of the reasons I love this house. I can hear them easily on the next level even if I choose to unplug the monitor. So there I was behind closed doors striking interesting poses. Once or twice, I posed right along side a basket of clean laundry. There’s no shame in my game. If hot teenagers can send sexy cellphone pics, so can I. Ever do anything wild like that? We used to leave “notes” in each other’s work bags, long ago. Boy was that fun. I do crazy stuff on a regular basis. All for the sake of marriage.
I guess I’m still feeling the effects of last Saturday’s date night. Xmen was great, but most of all I just enjoyed his company. Our date was interesting because we lost our house keys during the thunderstorm that broke after dinner. Eric had run off in the pouring rain to get the car so I’d be dry. I had to accept his chilvary because I didn’t want to be a popsicle in the cinema. (I find it so sweet when he pours on that southern charm). So we didn’t know the keys were gone until we were about to watch Wolverine rip some stuff apart. That discovery made us exchange our tickets for a later show and then go on a hunt for the keys. It didn’t take long to find them and soon we were back at the theater patiently waiting for our show to start. When it finally got started, it was Hanna Montana, not Xmen. The whole cinema was in uproar. In retrospect this is very funny. But during the show, about 20 of the movie patrons (including us) stormed out looking for the first attendant we could find to string up. I mean they literally had the kid surrounded! The young manager fixed the problem quickly, after cracking a few jokes, of course. At the end of the show we both agreed, the movie was awesome.
The Sunday afternoon following our date, I went out for nearly six hours — alone. He took care of the kids without complaint. Anytime he watches the kids like that, I go straight into your-wish-is-my-command mode. And I’ll do anything for him. Just can’t help myself! That little taste of freedom reminds me that I’m not just a hardworking mother. Sort of like I feel on date night. I get to dress up, put on makeup and pretend we’re 19 again. I love it. Not much trumps being a mother. But being a woman can feel so very, very good. How do you express your womanhood?
Strong overtones of incense fill the air, as I climb the stairs leading to our bedroom. I inhale and simultaneously close my eyes while fresh images of the two of us unfold. Remnants of a jazz melody plays loudly as I pass through our room; the iridescent comforter lays crumpled atop cotton sheets. My mind switches to the bath tub. Candles are put out now and there are no more bubbles floating softly on water. Something catches my eye, so I lean closer to focus on glittery gold stars on the bottom of the tub. A clue left behind for young minds to ponder.
We locked our bedroom door last night and for a spell, I completely forgot we even had the three of them who were soundly asleep in their beds. We both laughed at the thought of that. Yet upon remembering our children — our family— a deeper connection was made.
Spontaneity has been our friend in this marriage. Our rendevous was romantic and totally unplanned. There are no places or times that are off limits to us and this we’ve learned more so since having the kids. So in a way they help us. If not simply by supplying enough stress and tension that only the two of us can understand and then have cause to passionately coax away.
It had totally been a tough week. But not a rotten one. We’d both logged too many work hours without all the work getting done. Nobody cuts you any slack, especially not our three tenants. We have to work around all the craziness of the world to find each other and reconnect in our own sanctuary. It is very necessary. Totally inevitable. Completely satisfying. Angelical bliss.
The helter-skelter, the chaos…the mayhem, if you will, that is our life is not brought to an end by a fiery Friday night. For he is gone. Studying. And I should be cleaning the house and washing the kids hair today. And of course I will. Outside time is mandatory on a day so beautiful, no question about it. Though I still have pending business to handle and an article to write. But as I go about all I’m to do, I secretly long for him. One night is not and could never be enough time to spend with my soul mate. I’m speaking of the one God sent to me, stuck me with and made it so I couldn’t leave although I may have tried to once or twice ;). And well, if you haven’t found yours yet. Wait. God is kind.
Now I see us under a gazebo in Hawaii. Aqua green ocean in the background; the scent of seawater in our noses. Cool, gritty sand oozes between our toes as some unknown minster presides. The wind gently blows the flowers in my hair. He’s as handsome as ever in an all white tux, with a smooth matching hat cocked to the side. We say I do and smile. I pull his tie as he dips me in a heavenly kiss…renewing our vows.