I am on a train from New York City to Philadelphia. I have been partying for almost two months straight. I lost my job a few weeks ago, at least two people are not talking to me anymore, and my hair is covered with some sticky shit to make it dred. I have five dollars and fifty-three cents in my pocket. It is all the money I have left in the world. My guitar and a bag with everything I own sits slumped over on the seat next to me.
I am leaving everything I know behind. Tomorrow, I will board a plane and move to Africa. I am totally alone. It is perfect. Finally. However, in my hung-over state, I re-examine a childhood fantasy one last time: I will get to the hotel, see the woman of my dreams, live with her in some tiny African village; I will marry her, have children, and we will grow old together. I go to the bathroom and throw up. I spend a dollar twenty-five on a ginger ale I will not finish. The fantasy is not enough.
At the hotel, I scan the room for my dream girl; I expect to see her all-hippie-like and smelling of patchouli. She is not here. What I do not know, however, is that the woman who I will marry, have children with, and grow old with is sitting right in front of me.
Her hair is short, and she is dressed very stylishly. She is reserved and distant. She looks at my hair and tattoos with distaste. She could be my polar opposite. We play introductory games as a group and move to Africa. All of us together. All of us alone.
The rest is history so to speak. After three months of training, I realize that this fiery gorgeous woman, who I thought was a snob, would be the person who would help me become the person I never thought I could be. For the past seven years, I have benefited tremendously from her kindness, sense of humor, and generosity of spirit. While at first glance she may appear to be distant, my wife once she connects is the most dependable, giving, and considerate friend I have ever known.
In addition to her he generosity, she is one of the liveliest and life-loving people I have ever met. She balances out this joi de vie with the sharpest, sarcastic, jaded worldview that complements mine perfectly. In every aspect of life we truly balance each other out. While she prefers Nina Simone or Bill Withers, I like to blast Jane’s Addiction and Pearl Jam. The good news is that I now have an appreciation for Billy Holiday and Miles Davis, and she for Death Cab for Cutie and the RHCPs. She buys five (insert items) so we don’t run out, while I scour the house to find what I only bought one of. She is the pickiest eater I have ever met, while I will eat a snake heart to see what it tastes like.
I guess the reason why our relationship works so well is more than just love. We are truly partners, in the sense that we are a team. We are really good friends as well. I love simply talking to her about anything and everything. We have carved up this little life for ourselves, and it is not that I can’t do it alone, I simply would never dream of it. We have so much fun accomplishing our goals together. People often say that it must be difficult to live and work with someone, but we have been doing it for a very long time now and I love it.
I was speaking with a friend yesterday who was telling me about some problems he is having with his girlfriend. He asked me what kinds of things my wife and I fight about. I briefly thought about, but I drew a blank. No matter how hard I thought, I couldn’t think of anything that we seriously fight about. Sure we get annoyed with each other. For example, when I stay out till four-thirty playing poker and miss the two-thirty feeding I had promised to take, but I cannot remember the last time we had, what most people call, a fight. Since I stopped drinking very few things get between us.
I look back to the days when we lived in Mozambique. We had no electricity or running water, but we had each other. I think our relationship is so strong because we had no choice but to build a solid foundation then. I cannot think of a single moment since I met her, that I have been bored with her. Her presence in my life is the meaning that so many people look for.
Anyway, I am gushing now. I think I have adequately earned some kiss up points. The way I feel for you, Mairin, is beyond love. We simply belong together and I cannot imagine a world where being together isn’t the case. I cannot wait to see where we go and who we become. Thank you for walking with me on this journey.
Ten weeks ago my wife would have been the most obvious choice for who I would pick to be in my with someone portrait, but with the birth of our daughter, the arrival of my mom, and my wife’s dislike of being photographed, it has taken three weeks to get her where she belongs. Here is a portrait of me and my wife having some fun on a Sunday night. Look! I am finally smiling in one of these SPC challenges.
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