Bursting with Love

Posted on 13 June 2010

I woke up this morning bursting with love, more than content with my lot. We received such a wonderful surprise at our 40th anniversary party last night in the square. (And a beautiful decanter, champagne, and lots of wine.)

We had sent out invitations to all our friends. “Join us at 7 for drinks, then dinner, at Les Consuls…” Rob and I arrived a few minutes before seven, sat, chatted, and then I heard a familiar voice say “Let’s get this party underway.” Rob and I turned and there was Bev and Bill walking towards us. It took a minute for it to register. That really is Bev. That really is Bill. We squealed, screamed, hugged. Their spur-of-the-moment decision to join us made our day. And evening. Some friends just came for drinks. Thirteen sat down for dinner. I even – for old times sake – got up and danced on the table.

The writer in me couldn’t help but use this title. (Or perhaps it’s the devil in me – who has not visited for I don’t know how long.)

Forty years ago today, we married. The night before I stayed at my sister-in-law’s apartment. I dyed her hair and put mine in rollers. We rose at the crack of dawn to go to the flower market. Defiant, as usual, I did not stay away from the groom. I slipped into our apartment where his parents were staying and gave him a hug. Sometime in the afternoon I went to my parents’ house. I bathed in cold water (because everyone else had washed ahead of me) and removed the rollers. My hair was a mass of curls. I stepped into the dress my mother had made, tied a small bonnet at my throat, and drove to the church in a neighbour’s fancy car. Before pulling away from the curb, he told me that I could still change my mind.

Unbeknownst to me, Rob’s boss/friend/driver told him the same thing.

Doesn’t seem like forty years ago. People congratulate us for being steadfast. I think to myself, forty years of marriage, not monogamy.

We do not have a fairytale marriage where every second of the day, week, month, year, we whisper sweet nothings and embrace. After five years of marriage, we split up for a year and a half. After twenty, we had another crisis – that’s when we told each other hard truths that made us both cry but, in the end, those truths made us respect the other more and saved our marriage.

On our wedding day, Patrick Spence-Thomas with his melodic voice read from the Prophet, on marriage:

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

After our second crisis, we realized two things. First, we have to tell each other the truth, no matter how difficult. Second, we cannot be together all the time. When we’ve been living in each other’s pocket too long, we aren’t kind to the other.

I believe we have good marriage. We have not grown complacent. We leave each other alone to do whatever the other wants. We share house work. He cooks. I clean. And sometimes in the night, I reach over with a toe to make sure he’s there.

When I awoke this morning, he was standing on the terasse naked. Hi you, I called. He shook his head, said he was miserable. He had been up all night worrying. “I’ve wasted forty years of my life.”

I grinned, then laughed. “Well, I’m bursting with love,” I said.

He grinned, gave me a hug, but said that he had to go back to sleep. He’d celebrated too hard last night.

I slipped down to my office and checked my emails. Gill, Michael, Mackenzie, John, and Nancy had sent congratulations via video.. I laughed and played it five times – each person’s character shone through.

I love these moments when I feel happy to be alive.


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