We Still Do.
“What do you think about a vow renewal?” I asked, mid-process of sloppily scooping salsa onto a chip. It was chip number #7 of 12, and I was sad that I already was halfway through my Weight Watchers Point allotment. Weight Watchers is a controlling bitch.
My husband leaned back in the wicker chair at the Mexican restaurant that had two names, our 2 ¾ year –old happily coloring beside him. “I dunno, I was kind of working on an exit strategy, but if you really want to, I guess we can.”
He was kidding, of course. I smiled and took a sip of margarita. I only drank once a week and the Point hit was hell, but it was worth it. The carbs plus alcohol equaled a special place of heaven in my mouth and probably also my thighs. I didn’t care. I’d already worked out and swam laps for the day. I was going to drink the damn margarita.
We were 16 days out from our anniversary trip to Mexico to celebrate five years of marriage. I had the brilliant idea of actually following through on a vow renewal that morning, thinking of all the milestones and mileage our marriage had been through in five years: the remodeling and sale of our first home. The birth of our first (and probably only) child. The closing of my business. The transition from his first real job to the second, with more demands and more responsibilities. My return to graduate school to finally get my PhD after talking about it for years. We’d seen many changes and weathered every storm. Together. Amazingly, we still loved (and liked) each other.
It seemed like a million years since the day I’d met him eleven years ago in a tiny space labeled a “lab” where graduate students could come and work on multimedia projects. I was the Graduate Assistant over the space, and most days were spent in a lazy idyll working on my projects for school or reading. It was late June, and he’d come in with this tousled brown hair and almond-colored eyes and a green and white striped button down shirt and khaki pants. He was adorable. I was smitten from the moment I met him, my heart literally skipped a beat like some kind of romance novel. He came by to use a computer for about 20 minutes and I wondered if I’d ever see him again, and when he left I’d peered down at his name, trying to read his illegible, scrawling handwriting. Dan? Dave? All I could read was a loopy “D” and a last name that looked like “Yeater.”
He did come back. He was a close friend with a fellow GA in the building, and he frequented my lab, and over time, he became my best friend. I watched as he dated other girls and was impossibly angry over the fact, helping him pick out their Valentine’s Day flowers and gifts while I wrote closeted love poetry and daydreamed about the day he would notice me. Me. He was in the Economics Ph.D. program, I was getting my Master’s in English. He was funny and smart and unlike any other person I’d ever met. On the day we shared our first kiss, something changed inside of me forever.
There’s something that happens to a person when they fall in love with the person they are going to spend the rest of their lives with. From that kiss, I knew that he was “the one.” The kind of “one” you read about in Romance novels or see in Hallmark movies.
When we finally started dating, a year after that kiss, we went on a trip to Las Vegas and I asked him, over shots of cheap tequila, if he intended to make a legitimate woman out of me. We were playing penny slots, the jangling sounds of the machines raising a monotonous cacophony in a space that could be day or could be night. He looked over at me and smiled this rueful smile of his. “Of course,” he answered, “I wouldn’t be here with you right now if I wasn’t going to marry you.”
I smiled up at him, taking another chip. Number 8. “I mean, if you want out, now is the time, I wouldn’t get all that much deeper invested.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Nah,” he said. “I’ll marry you again.”
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