|via better than fine|
Somehow I'd seen us in Maine, on the coast, wrapped in blankets in our Adirondack chairs, with books, perhaps the New York Times, spectacles perched on the ends of our noses, our cold hands clasping each other's in our old age. That's the way I thought it would be.
But things don't always work out the way you imagine. You just don't imagine that nearly thirty years of your life will be boiled down to a list of belongings. You don't imagine yourself saying, "who's going to get the wedding silver?" Every little thing in this house has a story. Every little thing is waiting to find out its fate. There are too many memories to sift through.
My friend Dawn and I call it 'the fear'. If you are angry with your spouse, if you feel that you are not being listened to, if you want something else, do you get 'the fear' when you consider walking away? Does the idea of your spouse with a new person give you 'the fear'? You see how it goes. 'The fear' is the acid test.
Because if nothing else I appreciate the most how my husband and I have a shared history. How our family in all its foibles and silliness; all the little jokes and sayings, all the years of memories and happenings, they all add up to me. And how would I be without it?
When I started University, I got together with my husband, although I had known him for many years beforehand. My housemates used to laugh at me; I had discovered this happiness virtually on my front door and yet I spent the entire time thinking I would lose it. Thinking I would lose him. Even years later, it took me ages to work out that he wasn't going anywhere. He used to say 'I am not one who changes; I stay'. I am the product of divorced parents and grew up with very limited exposure to conventional families. My family was different; a tight nucleus of my Mum, my brother and I; my Dad a satellite that I visited on strict rotation. I didn't know what marriage was meant to look like, exactly.
And now? I have made this marriage mine. It's not been always easy - but it's been the single most important thing I ever did. Along with what we created along the way.