It’s been incredibly, unusually, disgustingly hot here. My tolerance for heat was always high: I cut my teeth on the scorch of the Southwest sun, after all. But up here, it’s a little stickier, and most houses (mine included) do not have air conditioning. We aren’t interested upping our summer electric bill by adding a putzy window unit, so we manage triple digits with a lot of avoidance and icy beverages. I also have slow brain. I don’t think I was even as addled in science-fiction hot Phoenix, during our three year experiment there. But for some reason, once the mercury rises up now beyond, oh, eighty degrees, I get cranky and stupid. And that’s my long introductory excuse for why I’m writing an anniversary post two days late.
I never know who reads what and I can never remember to whom I’ve told which stories and I hate repeating myself, but don’t some things allow for repetition? Don’t some stories become lore and thus beg for appropriate retelling? Anniversaries are like that, I think.
So, the husband and I have been official for sixteen years. Like I told facebook: my marriage is old enough to drive now. It’s not my wedding anniversary, because we didn’t have one of those. And by ‘no wedding’, I don’t mean, small, casual backyard event with a few friends and family. I mean, no wedding. Nothing. We got married ten months after we met. Half of that courtship was long-distance. I moved to Oregon on August 15th, rolled into town as the sun was setting. We had an appointment at the county courthouse the next morning. We were so naive we didn’t even know we should have our own witnesses. It was really just the two of us. The judge’s secretary kindly asked the couple married before us to remain in the room to sign off on our marriage certificate. We were married with all the flair and ceremony you’d expect in a drab office in the presence of four strangers. It was like a business transaction and very quick. It was so quick that the intensity of what we’d done took days (weeks? months?) to sink in, feel real. For many, many reasons, a civil court service was the best choice for us and I have no regrets.
We never had a “honeymoon”. And I don’t really mind, because I look back and see how our early years, even the both working, both going to school, busy busy no money broke as a joke years, were a honeymoon. It didn’t matter. We had lithe bodies and enthusiasm and hope and love and youth. We lived a honeymoon. Life was simple and sweet and easy. It was a casual stroll through a botanical garden. These days, I feel a lot more like we’re running up a steep hill in poor weather conditions, but you know what? We’re still running. I think that counts for something.
Is sixteen years married long enough to start giving marriage advice? Ok, maybe not advice. But, my observation is that marriage is very much like a hard, long race. Not the race-to-win kind of race. More like a marathon with ten thousand people participating. There’s nothing special about being married, just like there’s nothing special about running a race. But maybe it means something different to each participant. Maybe that race is the pinnacle of your life. Maybe it was the best thing you ever did. Maybe it was just part of your story. Maybe you thought you were ready but you tripped and broke your ankle halfway and couldn’t finish, no fault to you, it just happened. Maybe you wore the wrong shoes, dumb shoes not for running, and you weren’t ever taking it seriously to begin with, so when you’re feet started hurting, you just shrugged and walked off. Maybe you have a previous injury that keeps you from going as far as you’d like. Maybe you’re a natural and you’ve never had any obstacles. Maybe some of you had an easy course with no hills and some of us have all hills and potholes and hecklers. It’s not the same for anybody. No one has the same experience, so who am I to offer any suggestions? One foot in front of the other, for as long as you can, that’s all I’ve got. . .
And beyond that, for the record, I’m glad that husband of mine is still my pace man. I couldn’t imagine doing this thing with anybody else, and if I’m still writing lovey stuff sixteen years into it, you know it’s the real deal. But no pictures to share because we don’t even have ONE picture of us together from the day we were married. Not one. That might be my one regret. Ok, that and we have never had a big celebratory merrymaking affair in our honor. Maybe we’ll throw a bigass twentieth and everyone will feel obliged to give us cool stuff. (mostly joking.)
(oh! but I do have other pictures to share soon. we went camping this week! it was glorious! and a summer redux post. and uly news. and and and. thanks for reading. also, I started this blog post yesterday and today was much cooler. and another also, how am I old enough to have been married for so long? we were so young.)