Image: me and Josh (photo courtesy of Eliza Gano, 2013)
Since my wedding two years ago, five couples I know have split up. The recent dissolution of these partnerships makes me reflect on my own. Besides that, I attended the wedding of my husband’s childhood friend this past weekend and also celebrate the one-year anniversary of my best friend’s marriage whose wedding I officiated this time last year, which causes me to do more reflection than usual on unions in general.
I held quite dear two couples whose marriages recently dissolved but I also respect the wives’ decisions to end their marriages, and for very good reason. This post is not to rub it in anyone’s face of my happy union. In fact, I’m quite astonished when I hear friends think that my husband and I don’t fight, maybe because they’ve never seen us go at it in public. First of all, I don’t think couples should ever fight in public. Not only do I think it’s bad form, but it tends to make everyone present very uncomfortable like being forced to watch a bad Pacquiao/Mayweather fight. Sadly this does not run as common sense to the bickering couples whom I’ve had to watch go relentlessly at it in front of family and friends. Also, my joke of an analogy is not to be used to make light of relationships where domestic violence and verbal/emotional/psychological abuse are concerned. Now that is a totally different animal not to be laughed at and deserves very serious redress and accountability. What I refer to here is simply couples who fight.
I’d like to clear up that my husband and I do, in fact, fight. He’d like to disagree and claim we don’t fight and rather get into heated arguments and debates, but call it what you will, to me, that’s fighting, and something we can be relentless at, but at the end of the day, concludes with a genuine apology for any hurt feelings, the willingness to listen, and the willingness to understand where each other is coming from. We don’t fight everyday, but we call each other out on the other’s shit when necessary, and we do it immediately, without hesitation, or at least reserve an appropriate time to do so when we’re not in the public eye.
“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side-by-side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
Hungover from a late night of writing, I dream of tiptoeing to your room, sliding into your bed, and making love to you.
I realize I am dreaming when my alarm finally rings. I tiptoe to your room, slide into your bed, wrap my arms and legs around your body, when you snidely tell me it is Monday and, “Wait, I don’t have to go to work but you do,” and remind me with a vengeance how my weekends are your weekdays.
My caresses across your chest brake and I slide out of your bed as the sourness of your voice would rather offer realism of Monday morning’s routine. You declared yourself an optimist just last night when it came to making babies and the promise of goodness shining through among our unhappy in-laws, but I see no optimist this morning.
I shower and can’t remember whether I’ve already washed my hair and scrubbed my body with the soap-sudded washcloth clenched in my hand.
I forget you are lying in bed as I get dressed and slide my pink cowl neck blouse over my head wondering if Kate Middleton requires assistance getting dressed in the morning or does she dress entirely all by herself, risking the slightest dishevelment in front of the glaring paparazzi?
I think of you sleeping while I get dressed. You never become the man I dream you to be. I never become the woman you figure I am.
I will write about this. You know. You knew when you first wanted to kiss me a decade ago. I record and memorize with no exceptions and yet it has never stopped you from authentically being and authentically living the elegant and ugly with me.
Hiding is not part of our nature.
Over dinner last night as we ate side by side on our tiny dining table, I felt your maleness at odds with my femaleness as you lifted each bite to your mouth, the dinner you made for me. I realized then there is no use in changing either one of us. A long time ago I decided to unbloom so many petals of myself as you felt threatened by the revelation of my processes and would’ve rather thrown out my written words as idle letters strewn together for someone else’s feasting eyes while I thought you were insane for screaming at the television, “WHAT ARE YOU SWINGING AT?” as you watched Coco Crisp strike out.
It scares you that I could take a lifetime to be understood. It frustrates me that you could take a lifetime to be understood. “Don’t I already know you?” We must ask ourselves the same question. Behind each other’s back.
Occasionally there are slivers when I reveal my deepest self to you, only to meet your frustration and sarcasm turning any revelations of myself into a contest on who is the smarter anomalous sex, when really, I just want you to know who I am. Your first instinct to my feminism always sparks the fear that we are all man-haters – a fire I can’t seem to quash as the blue little flame began before either of us was born, when a fetus’ clitoris morphed into the phallus and lost all sense of the origin from which all human beings begin. But then there are boys who remember, or at least convince you they have learned.
We are the last old-fashioned couple to love each other like our grandparents. Your grandfather gave all of the grandchildren their haircuts while your grandmother prepared the meals. My grandfather prepared the meals while my grandmother worked knee-deep picking rice. Equality can look different to some.
We ultimately show what the other wants while our spoken words sometimes assume the worst about the other. We are each other’s centrifugal railway. There is no need to search further for explanations. I know all this, have known, and take your man’s body entirely this morning as it is given to me where your words, my words, and our fears sometimes collide into contradictions but where I never forget how your hands continue to hold and carry and offer and wash our dishes and make us dinner and pick up contact solution when I’ve run out, calling me in the middle of the day to ask the all-important question as you eternally stare at 10 different brands, “Opti-Free Express or Opti-Free Pure Moist?” when you have the perfect vision and I have the defective eyes.
Your eyes and lips surrender the deepest part of yourself everyday as I kiss your lips one, two, three, four, five, six, seven times. Your hands skate across my bare back, not needing a firm grasp to stop anytime soon, but to keep skating, gliding as if our bodies were at a steady pace between planets before I head down the stairs.