Do you remember last summer driving eastward through Iowa? We heard a radio interview with a gay man who said he’d been “reformed.” He called himself a recovering homosexual. He’d been married to a woman for 12 years. He said marriage was bliss. “Every day is bliss,” he’d said and we laughed and you said, “Now I know he’s lying.”
Marriage isn’t bliss and love isn’t either. Marriage is life with all of its big and little things. It’s hard and it’s sad and it’s funny and it’s complicated and it’s beautiful. It’s like India or a really good book. Despite its ups and downs and unexpected plot twists, we still walk out into the madness of the street. We still turn the page.
If our marriage were a human we would be six years old today. We’d be wearing big boy underwear and barely ever peeing our pants. And in the fall we’d be heading off to kindergarten. We would wait nervously at the bus stop in our best new shirt with a school-issued identification tag pinned to the front of it. Six. Old enough to step out into the world but not old enough to be trusted to find our way back home again. Which pretty much perfectly sums us up.
We are human and we do human things. We pick fights and ignore each other. We are sweet and funny and considerate sometimes, and other times we are moody and selfish. But mostly, we are good. We are good to each other. And I know that on the longest nights, during the scariest moments, when the bad news hits, you will be beside me. And I beside you. Love is the way we make life easier for each other, how we bear the burdens and celebrate the best things.
On days like today, our anniversary, I always remember the beginning. You with your long hair and your silent certainty. Me with my big mouth and my cigarettes. We would squeeze together in a bar booth and you would put your hand on my knee and a current of energy would shoot through my body.
I wasn’t thinking of love then. I certainly wasn’t thinking of marriage. I wasn’t thinking of growing older or growing up. I wasn’t thinking of the millions of directions that life might take me in, or us in, together. All I knew in that moment was that I liked you next to me. And it has been that way every day since.
Happy anniversary, Brian.