You guys, I am crazy in love with my wife. If you lived in our house, you’d be trying to duel me with steak knives for first wife status and I’d tell you that YOU WILL NEVER WIN. If that implies in any way that we have second and third wives, well, I’m sorry about that.
In 1998, I took one train, one bus, one bike ride, and was asked out on one date on my way to meet her for the first time. She was onstage, playing a guitar and singing in a tiny black box theater. There weren’t enough people for me to blend into the background (which is a terrible habit I still haven’t broken) and I was wondering if she knew who I was and whether coming to see her had been a mistake. After all, I didn’t actually know her. But I’m a sucker for a deep voice and self-confidence and, in the end, she had enough of both that she didn’t need to work nearly as hard as she lets on. She showed me a picture of the girl she was interested in (this was not me) and she invited me back to her room which, if I remember, was equipped with only a bed, a stool and a dozen flannel shirts. We talked, mostly about that girl, until I left to catch the last train out.
The last train out turned out to be more real than you’d expect. That winter I left the country and, email being what it was at the time, left pretty much everyone I knew. Any communication was spotty. She sent me one of her CDs and she is still kind enough to let me believe one of the songs is about me. Four years later, I met her new girlfriend over bagels on her living room floor. While making small talk, she captured me with her voice (again) and her confidence (again). She will tell you that this isn’t how she remembers it. Don’t listen to her. When I returned to the states we introduced our girlfriends to each other over a particularly frustrating Ikea bookshelf.
We both thought we were married. It turns out, we weren’t.
Afterward, we lived in a tiny apartment while we tried to rebuild all the pieces of ourselves. We grew strawberries in a barrel. I worked nights. We put out the cat when his tail caught fire. We laid in bed listening to our upstairs neighbor run on his treadmill until the night he fell off. Then we listened to our new upstairs neighbors play video games all night while we banged on the ceiling with a broom. Our maintenance man asked us if we “liked sexy movies” and then brought us porn. We drove to the beach in the middle of the night and ate pizza on the pier. We rode in my convertible. We kissed in the rain. I watched her play her guitar over and over. I fell in love. She gave me diamonds.
In 2005, we married on the beach at dusk. There were several gulls and one lone beachcomber in attendance and our bare feet were freezing in the sand. She slipped a ring on my finger and we shared wedding cake alone in a room full of white roses and candles. We danced to Atlantic Star. We are incredibly cheesy. And happy. I am incredibly, unbelievably happy.
Today is our anniversary and I hope with all of my heart that we won’t see another eight years without the right to marry properly. To hold the paper that gives us the same rights as other unbelievably happy newlyweds. Because I promise, the second we have that right, we’ll marry again. I can’t wait to hold hands at city hall. Here’s to the overwhelming power of a beautiful voice, quiet confidence, and a silly streak a mile wide. And unbelievable happiness.