A random string of memories popped up today, and not exactly the “best” ones. I’m not entirely sure why they decided to rear their heads, although possibly, they may have come from hearing Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love and specifically the lyrics:
“Trying hard not to hear, but they talk so loud. Their piercing sounds fill my ears, try to fill me with doubt. Yet I know that their goal is to keep me from falling”.
Or perhaps it’s because what should have been our 27th wedding anniversary is just around the corner and I’m dreading it even more than last year when I was still quite deep in the fog. But I suppose it really doesn’t matter why. The thoughts simply needed to be acknowledged so they could move on their (not-so-) merry way.
See, back when my husband first decided to “woo” me (an inside joke between us because we watched so many darned TCM movies and using a word such as woo was the antithesis to the testosterone-laden manly man that my husband was), he tried to get his sister to set us up. His sister and I had gone to the same school (the one A graduated from the previous Spring) and had a class together. He asked her numerous times to tell me he wanted to ask me out, and presumably determine if I was interested, too. She never once mentioned it to me, and it was nearly 3 months later when we finally had our first date, eventually set up by my brother, a friend of A’s.
Several months after that, she began to pester him to break up with me (something I never heard about until years later as he didn’t want to upset me or cause bad feelings between his sister and me). To this day, I don’t understand it, because I thought we were, if not friends, at least friendly acquaintances. According to him, she say that we weren’t right for each other, and it wasn’t fair to me for him to lead me on. So he, being the joker that he was, one day he told her that she was right. He said he was going to tell me that day he didn’t want to see me anymore. When he left his house to come pick me up for our date, she said “Good luck! Let me know how it goes.”
When he returned later, she was anxiously waiting up for him and asked if he had done it. “Did you break up with her? How did she take it? What did she say?” He told her “yes” and began giving her some phony details while she peppered him with more questions. He finally blurted out, “I didn’t break up with her, you idiot! What’s wrong with you?!”
He would spend many years “defending” me to his family, who for whatever reason decided we did not belong together, and A would often tell me how I was the only thing he had ever stood up to his parents for. That I was the only thing that mattered enough to do so. He went to the trade school they wanted him to attend. He went along with their idea for his career. He took his brother’s advice on the car to buy despite wanting something else. He simply didn’t want to deal with the hassle. But for me, it mattered. I mattered.
Fast forward to our wedding , years after the “fake-up”. (Is there such a word for a phony break-up, or did I just coin a phrase there??). When our reception was over, there was an after party at his parents’ house, where A and I were to spend a few hours before leaving for the airport and our honeymoon, and where a smaller group of guests had gathered to continue the celebration. For reasons I won’t disclose, A’s brother and sister ended up arguing heatedly, ending with my brother-in-law pinning my sister-in-law to the bathroom wall by the throat. My husband was in the other room, so I stood there, still in my wedding gown, trying to get my brother-in-law to release his grip, before one of our groomsman, a man close to A’s brother stepped in and talked him down. It was a surreal moment, one where I questioned the reality of it all, and it certainly put a damper on my previous high.
Shortly after that, my brother-in-law left angrily and our friends soon followed (and who could blame them?). Then the exhaustion of the day, physical and emotional, set in, and A and I headed to his boyhood bedroom to try to rest for a few hours before my father came to give us a ride to the airport for our much-anticipated and much needed honeymoon. I couldn’t believe it at the time (and still find it bizarre and unthinkable), but his sister followed us in to the bedroom and sat down on the edge of the bed, where she spent the next few hours talking to A about their brother while I dozed off beside him. Yes… you read that correctly. My sister-in-law spent our wedding night on the bed with us. (It was certainly a clear indication of the respect she had for our relationship and a foreshadowing of how my life as an interloper into their family would progress.)
Thankfully pre-dawn came quickly, and before we knew it we were on a plane headed west where we spent a glorious 12 days in beautiful Hawaii. It was there that my husband fell in love with his new mistress, those tropical islands in the middle of the Pacific, and it didn’t bother me at all that she stole my husband’s heart. I happily shared my honeymoon with her.
Although I could dwell on all the negativity surrounding this memory (and the life that came after) much too easily, I instead choose to focus on the fact that my husband went against his parents, something very strongly discouraged in his culture, to fight for me.
For as many times as he went along with them regarding decisions that affected our family (working for his father’s business and being seriously underpaid, for example, or being all but tricked into spending several years in their basement apartment in the early years of our marriage), he stood up to them, put his foot down and metaphorically beat his chest, essentially saying “I love this woman, and I will marry her, no matter the cost.” Because love is worth fighting for.
Every woman deserves someone to fight for her like that. And every man deserves a woman who appreciates it.
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