Today is our wedding anniversary. Twenty-one (21) years we've been cohabiting. In all honesty, it doesn't seem like it has been that long. Then again, I don't feel like I'm in my forties either.
|Me on the left, 1974|
He also seems to have this thing with plaid prints and a huge fascination with the color red. When we were married, he had the ugliest pair of red shorts I'd ever seen. His stepmom bought them for him to replace the ones that were so small they were booty shorts. The newer ones were big, baggy, and not in the least form fitting. I think she was trying to make a statement. I love the color red, but seriously, those shorts had to go--even if they were his favorite.
But I digress.
In 1990, I moved to Indiana. Scariest decision of my life. I had one more year of high school. I didn't know anyone. Indiana was so humid I thought I was breathing water. I hated all the green. All that color was seriously unnatural, and I despised not being able to see the horizon. I missed being able to sit on the porch and watching the sun peak over the flat, unobscured line of the horizon. For two years I was terribly homesick and considered may times moving back. Instead, I pushed forward.
Jason, on the other hand, was working his way through college, and perfecting his lounging techniques. Now don't go thinking that college=party. Jason has never had alcohol, although I here he was a good chaperon at many a party, keeping people from doing stupid things.
His second setting is knowledge of all things obscure. This is the second thing I loved about him. We never ever have a dull conversation. For some people, he comes off as being dull and nerdy. I find it very sexy. The thing about the plaid, and the socks with sandals, I could overlook that because it's the outside, the packaging. He isn't the sum of his appearance. Well, except for the red shorts but that was an easy solution.
How did we meet? In 1991, not sure what I wanted to do with myself, I took a job in the city, and worked on becoming independent. Found a roommate, moved closer to work, and put a lot of effort into making friends. Back then, automatic deposit wasn't a thing yet, so every payday people lined up at the bank to deposit their checks. It was on one of these excursions that I noticed the male teller. Loved his eyes, and every time I was at his window he would chat me up--this went on for months. I remember making up a reason to go to the bank, then sitting in the parking lot trying to psych myself up to asking him out. I needed a reason to go to his window to pass him my phone number. I drove off. I waited another two weeks for payday, and while I was there, I passed him the number. I was so nervous my hands were shaking. That night was a friend's 30th birthday, and we all went to a Damn Yankees concert. When I got home, there was a message on the answering machine from Jason. I fell all over myself to call him back because I really didn't think that he would call me so soon.
In March of '93 my father decided to have this conversation with Jason about making an honest woman out of me. Peeved me off, and I told Jason to not go there because I was finally beginning to enjoy my life, becoming comfortable in my own skin, and I didn't need it mucked up with that other stuff.
So. Two weeks later, I found a box in his closet and I was told that I shouldn't open it. Well, why the hell not? Because it was something Jason had purchased years before, intended for his future wife, and only she was supposed to see it.
But that is not exactly how he said it. His version came off more of, if you open that box, it will be the end of life as you know it. I thought I was dating a serial killer. I peaked into the box to see if it was a severed head. Did I need to call the police before I ran for my life? I'm proud to say that I'm not a running screamer like in the horror movies. I'm the investigator that is either killed or the hero. I would like to think the later.
Inside the box was an oriental, hand carved jewelry box. I spent a second in confusion until he said, well now you've seen it, you have to marry me. I fell over laughing, half in relief because he wasn't a psycho, and half in absolute terror because he'd asked me to marry him--after I told him not to.
My one biggest fear was that if I said no, then he would take that answer as I didn't want him in my life long term. I did, but I was afraid of being a divorce statistic five years down the road. My fear of losing him trumped what I couldn't possibly see in the future.
I made the second scariest decision of my life, and I said, yes, when I caught my breath.
Three months later, yes, three months, we were married. If we were going to do it, then there wouldn't be any dawdling. My mother thought I was pregnant. My dad about broke his arm patting himself on the back because he thought it was his doing. I was already done with the whole wedding idea and wanted to elope. But Jason was the baby of his family, and I was my father's only daughter, so I relented to a small outdoor wedding at his parent's house. Well, it was outdoors, and at his parents, but wasn't small by my standards which was supposed to be like 10 people each side--max. Dammit, I had to get a dress.
The high that day was sixty-four (64) degrees at three in the afternoon, four hours after I walked down the isle. The wind was blowing and I froze. It had rained the night before so my heels were sinking into the grass with each step. I had to stand on my tip toes. The wind also caught the runner, wrapping it wrapped my feet as we said our vows. Jason sang the "The Jetsons" cartoon song because the "flower" in my hair reminded him of their hoop skirts. The best man was snickering. I vaguely remembering saying, yes, and, I do, at the appropriate time. They played "Love Me Tender" as we were supposed to stare deeply into each other eyes, and I kept wondering why I had to pick such a long song.
Jason did look mighty fine in his suit. Once the ceremony was over, it was easier to relax, and I could borrow his suit jacket. I spoke to many, many people I didn't know. The congratulations banner had my name misspelled. When I threw my bouquet, it burst into fifty pieces. I had made it myself but didn't glue any of the flowers down.
But it was all right, because I had him. I was still terrified out of my mind, worried that our relationship would end up on someone's graph one day, but we could only take one day at a time.
Our first year married was certainly a trial. I was a bit OCD about some things, and I never realized how much of a slob he was. Six months into the marriage I went on a cleaning strike. It was exhausting trying to keep up with his mess, which to him wasn't a mess at all.
There is a reason why they say the first five years are the hardest. You're still learning each other. As young as we were, we were learning new lessons about ourselves. Cohabitation is a bear when there are different personalities with different priorities. But you learn to bend, give and receive, shelve the things that in the long run don't matter, and prioritize that which should be important.
He's an accountant, a numbers guy. He discovered numbers and I didn't mix the first time he showed up at the door with surprise balloons, flowers, and something sparkly. I said something like, "Is it someone's birthday?" It was our anniversary. I can't number the times I've recited the date and/or the year we were married incorrectly. It's either the 5th or the 3rd, '93 or '95, and once I thought it was '91. I forget birthdays so I give gifts in advance. I've even forgotten my own birthday.
And he loves me anyway.
When I think about throwing a party, it's not for one of those pentacle dates. So, instead of the surprise birthday party at the age of 30, I surprised him for his 33rd birthday.
He endures my practical jokes. He will no longer believe me if I say, I lost my keys. I drove to Wilksboro, North Carolina to visit a friend and called him to say that when I came out of the West Virginia tunnel, I ran into snow and the car skidded to the shoulder, with one tire off the road. I was actually sitting on my girlfriend's front porch watching her gawp like a fish until I confessed to Jason that everything was fine.
And he loves me anyway.
He is my best friend. He knows everything, absolutely everything about me. I trust him like no one else, and even knowing all that he does, he never stopped loving me. He taught me to laugh when I thought I had forgotten how. He has supported me in whatever I took a fancy too. Been infinitely patient with me, and everyday tells me how beautiful he thinks I am.
Not to say that he's a saint. I can't tell you how many times I've fallen into the toilet in the middle of the night because he doesn't always put the seat down.
He's an idle fiddler, so he's caught his fingers in fans, not allowed a pair of scissors, almost swallowed things he shouldn't have put in his mouth. He's also crawled into holes a might too small, used vines to swing like Tarzan, fallen into sinkholes, crawled onto tree branches hanging over swollen rivers, overshot the state fair's slide landing pad to tumble out on the asphalt, and has given me a heart attack in a dozen other ways.
He's kind and thoughtful. Children love to play with him. When our nephew was small he would call Jason my "big kid". He works hard, has never stopped learning, and would probably go back to college when we can afford it. He loves cartoons, on TV and in the newspaper. I don't even know how many animated movies he has. He's still perfecting the art of lounging and is the best gaming partner a person could have.
After all of these years, I wouldn't change a thing. I could spend a hundred years with him and it wouldn't be enough. He fills my life with love and laughter, and I would be completely lost without him.
Happy Anniversary Husband!