People say a lot of goofy things when you’re planning a wedding. From stuff like, “nice knowing you!” to that “old ball and chain” bit, to “soul mate” and “the perfect person for you”… and all points between. I don’t believe in any of that stuff, for the record. Yes, ideally, you marry your best friend. But they don’t start out that way and in fact, it takes a long time before you’d even really call them that if they were just someone you were building a regular friendship with. BEST friend? No. Great friend? Yes. Confidant? Pal? Partner in crime? Absolutely. Best though? Not quite, no. I can’t finish Dylan’s sentences yet. I don’t always know what he’s thinking when he stops mid sentence and furrows his brow at the air. I can do that with my best friend Kathy, though. We really do share thoughts (and half a wardrobe, hilariously…and accidentally). She I have put 14 years into our relationship. We KNOW each other. And sometimes I wonder how she feels about losing me to a guy I’ve only known for a year and a half. If the shoe was on my foot I can tell you I’d probably be salty, I can’t lie about that. So I made her my Maid of Honor. One last bit of fame and torture, like all great relationships.
I’m reading a book about planning a wedding in six months or less, which is happening as we speak. I’m proud to say it’s like, 90% finished minus some remaining decisions about wine, a final meeting with the caterer, getting our photographer paid off, and finding a pair of shoes that I don’t hate. Oh and flowers, but if there’s one thing I know in life it’s flowers, I’m not worried about that one. Something in this book jumped out at me last night apart from all the little things I didn’t know I was on the hook for (hostess gifts? Future mother in law gifts? Welcome bags? What, we’re not spending enough on the FREE PARTY you’re all getting?) The author, herself married in six months’ time, interviewed her husband regarding their planning experiences. She ran around crazed and detailed, he sat back feeling like it could have all been done in a matter of a month or two (but wisely kept that to himself until after the honeymoon). He said something like, “the only reason people are engaged is so they have time to plan a wedding” which was so painfully brilliant, I laughed in my Kindle’s little gray face. She also asked him what he thought marriage would mean for him, personally. He said, among other things, that he figured he wouldn’t be lonely anymore.
I am someone who has felt like a loner, and at times straight up lonely, for much of her life. Maybe being home alone during the days when my older sisters were in school or at activities, maybe it was not having kids my age in my neighborhood to play with, maybe I was born independent or maybe life created that illusion for me, I don’t know. I do know that I had lots of dolls, imaginary friends, and art supplies to keep me entertained until junior high when I went to a public school for the first time and met kids who lived near me. It was a huge development and I ran towards it, full steam ahead. But even in those hundreds of moments sitting on Mark’s parents’ couch with my bff Kelli next to me and a roomful of laughter and parents who left us alone to be ridiculous 13 year olds, I still felt somehow outside looking in. I was different than them and I couldn’t figure out why I felt that way. That feeling followed me through every living situation, job, and friend group I found myself in. I was completely used to it. It became my next imaginary friend, except it felt very, very real.
Falling in love, real love as I now know, means in part being with someone who gets us and doesn’t begrudge the differences but rather embraces them. One of the best things Dylan and I do, is sit on the couch on our respective electronic devices, silently but for the occasional, “listen to this…” or something like that. We just sit together and it’s good. I don’t feel lonely by myself or with him. We live in a place where everyone knows one another and it’s frankly at times, impossible to be alone even behind a closed door. Tonight, I got home from work and told him that I need… need, mind you… a night solo. I was behind on three or four television shows and all I wanted to do was put on pj pants, crawl into bed, and watch a ton of TV online. He took the car keys and put air in our slowly leaking tire, went and bought us a Chromebook as a replacement just-in-case laptop since his bit it a few days ago, and except for a bevvy of texts regarding that purchase, has let me be. It’s been heaven, I’m in love with tonight. It was the slice of solitary confinement that I badly needed.
We don’t live together so it’s hard to know what it will be like to share space with someone 24/7/365. I have no idea how it will go but I’m pretty sure I know who will be the first to get tense about housekeeping proclivities and the use metal utensils on nonstick surfaces. Hint: it’s me.
Something else the husband said in that book is that he never knew how selfish he was until he got married. I know that this will apply to me. I am, not 100% of the time but definitely more than half of it, a bit of a brat. I like things how I like them, for I am the daughter of a woman who likes things the way she likes them. Dylan is a doer. He’s happiest knowing he’s helping and active, he has the heart of a servant and takes care of the people he loves. I am privileged to be one of these people though I would be lying if I said I gave it back equally and that is something I struggle with when it becomes clear to me. I bring that to him, apologize, try to do better, and all the while he tells me to stop it, that I give him exactly what he needs. I guess that’s all that matters, but it’s brilliant when someone pushes you to be better without them even realizing it. Kind of an amazing alchemy of human emotion, really.
Things are going well. So well in fact that I feel like I don’t have enough to complain about which has somehow directly related itself to how often I write. I love my job. Yes, there’s that one old man that can’t get the hang of technology and makes everyone’s lives overly complicated and frustrating (and makes it your fault because you obviously didn’t hear him when he said that clear as mud thing yesterday…) but the other 99% of it is great. Simply great. I feel productive, appreciated, successful, and dare I say it: fulfilled. It’s hard for Dylan to understand because it puts our travel plans on hold, but as I said to him this is literally – literally – the very first job I have ever had that doesn’t have me looking at the door nor does it involve a boss I wish wasn’t mine. I can see myself there for a while and that’s a great thing. I don’t feel like an outsider either and though I felt that way in the beginning, it passed quickly. We bought a car, a city beater that needs help and is way long in the tooth but gets me to work so I don’t have to deal with the friggin’ CTA, and that freedom has come in handy quite a few times so far. We’re making plans for our new home, and unwrapped our very first wedding present a few days ago. It’s all coming together after a very dark period where I felt quite lonesome indeed, during which I figured God was basically telling me I made my bed and now it was time to lay in it. That may have been the case, but I know he doesn’t really work like that even though it’s easier to think he does. I feel sad for the stupidity my gay friends are enduring by God flag-waving jerks, I feel sad for how narrow people can be and how truly inhuman people behave at times. I know these things will always be with us and sweeping change is far and few, but this is an amazing time to be alive more than ever before, since the invention of the light bulb and flush toilets. I’m grateful every day, it sounds trite but I think I can say it since I’m about to partake in one of the most trite rituals ever created. The wedding, I mean. Not the marriage. I’d marry him in a courthouse dressed in a burlap sack if it meant we could get on with this show.
I’m off to lay down with earphones and Santigold, popping them out occasionally to hear the thunder of approaching and receding spring storms. Little darlin, it’s been a long, cold lonely winter…