On Friday, the lovely husband and I skipped town, abandoning children and sleep schedules and responsibilities like so much ephemera. We headed for the river, leaving everything we’ve built together behind to go be, just for a bit, a two of us instead of a five of us. I love that man, you know.
Virginia is for lovers, they say, and anyone who needs to escape a Marylander's life for a weekend.
It was our anniversary on Friday, and not just any anniversary but our tenth wedding anniversary. It’s the one where people start to say “happy anniversary” and ask how long and revise their statements: “ohhh, well, HAPPY anniversary.” It’s one where we passed a mile marker, and everyone applauds the distance.
My lovely husband: he is soft-skinned and gentle but has triceps you wouldn’t believe. He is brilliant and funny and has an acerbic wit, like dry wine, that shocks you with its directness but delights you if you’re not a teetotaler. He is a patient and encouraging father, and an adventurous travel partner.
We spent three days alone together, talking for hours and exploring and discussing occasionally but not often our children and their antics and reveling in the quiet hum that only two voices make. I’ve loved this man for years, of course, but it’s a joy, not a revelation nor a relief, mind you, but a steady joy, to be reminded how much I like him.
We’ve watched marriages crumble this year, so that’s no small thing.
We were retelling stories on Saturday night over a little cheesecake and a little bourbon and he reminded me of my former professor, my mentor in graduate school who had a sharp tongue herself. She gazed on my new sparkly diamond ring in the days after our engagement and commented, “hmm, that’s worth more than your car!” and in a pique of giggles I realized she was right.
My lovely husband, he of the so-thick hair slowly graying and the laugh lines steadily deepening and the soothing voice like summer thunder desirous of drawing forth my laugh: I thought he had fulfilled his conquest at the end of the story when I smiled, and remembered with him.
My lovely husband of ten years, marching toward eleven as surely as the earth will spin and spin and spin, he of the chess-match mind and trademarked smartass wit, he offered an epilogue: “and about your ring and your car: it’s true again, you know.”
And I have to confess to you that shock and recognition of truth washed through me, and I watched him laugh at me in the candlelight, laughing with me because I’m so fortunate that in the safety of our life, his laughing at me is the same as laughing with me, I laughed scandalously and grabbed his soft hand in mine, and his smile deepened.
His laugh lines around his eyes and his soft, tender hands and his deep dimple and his so-thick hair and his ten years of teasing me, I thought, those things made the ride to today such a sweet one.
But between you and me, it’s his chess-match mind and smartass wit that I love the most.
It was a very happy anniversary, Lovely Husband. Here’s to many more.