So before I got married, I really wondered what marriage was going to be like, exactly. Ever since I was a little girl I would hear people talk about how hard marriage was. How it would surprise you. How it was a battle. How everyone was broken.
I never really knew how to take that exactly… If you were really in love, and you were nice to each other, why would it be hard?
So I awaited marriage with fear and trepidation, wondering how I was going to be surprised for the worse!
And then I got married. And lo and behold! Marriage is like one perpetual date! I get to be with my favorite person in the whole wide world 24/7. And we never again have to experience that horrid phase where you love somebody desperately and don’t feel alive without them and yet have to kiss them goodbye at the door every evening.
Yes, we have arguments here and there. Yes, we both have our weaknesses. But somehow or other, with a little humility, we always end back up snuggling on the couch, laughing and teasing each other and talking about how much we love each other.
It’s the most awesome thing ever.
I’m fully aware, too, that this must be what everybody calls the Newlywed Phase. So I’m just gonna soak up the Newlywed Phase like crazy. City life in a tiny apartment, bicycling places, if we’re hungry and there’s no food walking across the parking lot or down the street to get some food, if there’s an indie movie out walking to the indie theater to see it, going to Centennial Park on extraordinarily beautiful days.
I absolutely love the spontaneity of life. Like when we are walking down 12 South and I buy a hydrangea and lily plant from the farmer’s market (I am generally not an impulsive spender about anything but plants) and make a potted garden outside in our jungle wall. And then try desperately to resurrect the hydrangea after it dies from neglect.
Or when we spend three days in a desert-trauma state because our air conditioning unit freezes over and we have to switch around the whole apartment to give it space to air out and and then realize it isn’t the furniture, it's that the filter hasn’t been cleaned since, like, the ‘60s.
Or when I drop my bike down the stairs because I’ve got no muscle, and the pedal catches my ankle and I fall with it.
Or when our beloved painting that we bought on the streets of Florence (it is a cardboard print that cost 10 euros, but who cares?) suddenly crashes from the wall in the middle of the night just as we’re falling asleep and breaks one of our favorite goblets. Then my husband spends half the next day trying to hang it again with every kind of molly joint and nail that there is and we finally discover that the hiss we’ve heard by the oven for forever is actually a leak that’s making the wall disintegrate.
Or when I burn brussels sprouts in the oven and the apartment and the whole building and parking lot smells pungently like burned brussels sprouts for two days.
Or when my husband and I find out one evening that there’s no more toilet paper. And since we’ve both been cooped up all day, we decide we’re going to walk the mile down 21st to the Harris Teeter to get some toilet paper.
The night is cool and quiet and beautiful. We walk hand-in-hand. We talk and talk and talk. While we talk I muse how there is no one in the world who will ever be more close to me than James. It is magical, two people completely giving themselves to each other, trusting each other, loving each other, becoming one person.
It is the greatest happiness, having somebody know you through and through, know how you feel and think and live and fail and succeed, and yet still love you more than anybody else and think you’re wonderful.
We come to the Harris Teeter under the lamplight. We walk up to the doors.
It’s empty. The shock resounds. We’re expecting a grocery store. Instead we see an Apocalypse like something from “I Am Legend.”
The world is dark and scary.
James leads me across the street to the gas station to get toilet paper there. There are vagrants hanging around the gas station. I feel like they’re all giving us weird looks. James thinks it’s all in my head. We buy a super expensive package of toilet paper and then rush calmly down the street past a deserted army supply store.
I see some other loving couples walking hand-in-hand under the moonlight and I begin to feel relaxed. We feel a little hungry, so we stop into a coffee shop and buy mini all-fruit popsicles.
And that’s how we end up walking down the street holding toilet paper and popsicles. James and I try to make our evening into a short story as we suck on our popsicles. We don’t succeed.
But it’s fun anyway.