We went right back to being online buddies.
And that was right around the time we both came to the mutual (and entirely practical) decision that since our love lives were atrocious, it couldn't hurt to date each other.Things certainly couldn't get any worse, and maybe it would be an improvement over an otherwise very sad state of affairs.
Our "dating experiment" lasted exactly 48 hours. After that, we decided to dispense with the dancing around and just be in a relationship--because we were done. That's all it took. The two relationship misfits realized we had found that one person we'd been looking for our whole lives. By the time 49 hours rolled around, we were already talking about getting married. 5 months later I was sporting a diamond. And then on October 13th, 2001 we got married.
That was right around the time I learned that my new husband 1) hated salad, 2) hated crunchy vegetables, 3) is horrifiyingly allergic to both tomatoes and onions, and 4) would not eat a strawberry even if he was starving to death.
Remember that birthday dinner he stoically gagged down? Yeah... I nearly put him in the hospital. But he risked it, because even then, he loved me.
The last ten years have not always been sunshine and roses: four houses, three cross-country moves, three cities, five pets, a miscarriage, the birth of two children, deaths in the family, the death of a pet, 70 hour work days, fights, applying for new jobs, getting new jobs, job anxiety, family drama, friend drama, pet drama (just today, Ruby chewed a hole right in the middle of our bedroom carpet), illnesses, hospital stays, emergency room visits, stitches, x-rays, ct scans, tantrums, arguments, road trips, potty training, first days of school, lots of tears, lots of threatening to turn this car right around, mister.
But it has all been so much better because of him. Sometimes, I take him for granted. He drives me bonkers with his incessant, compulsive need to clean everything. With his stupid day-of-the-week shirts. The way he absolutely, categorically will not sing (even when no one is around except his family, who are all singing loudly and will probably drown him out anyway). He's fretful and bossy and anxiety prone--so imaginative with his apocalyptic scenarios, that I frequently have to squelch the urge to strangle him. But then I have to think back, and remember what life was like before...
Before Tom, I did not know what it meant to be deeply invested in anything. To want to bind myself to someone else, and share whatever fate would be ours together. I did not understand that love makes anything possible-from eating lettuce, to surviving the blackest depths of grief. I didn't have any idea what a best friend was. All my life I'd wanted one, but I mistakenly thought that a best friend was someone who wanted to be with you all the time, who shared everything and every moment with you, who always agreed with you, and always supported you.
I was wrong.
A best friend gives you space, and a life of your own. When you are together, you share. Every encounter is a dispatch from a strange new place, someplace you've never been before. They challenge you, force you to confront truths about yourself, argue with you, teach you, lecture you, roll their eyes at you. They make sure you stay true and honest to yourself. And when you get off track, they remind you who you are, at your deepest core, because they never, ever forget. They love your whole heart with their whole heart.
I wish I had some wise, pithy ending to sum up this love story, but it's still ongoing. Marriage is a long journey, and this is just the first leg, but what a ride it's been.
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands
- e.e. cummings