Picture perfect

You might think me superstitious, but I’m not (touch wood). I am sure that it was a mere coincidence that our framed wedding photo fell off the wall one week before our 11th wedding anniversary. I am certain that accident had nothing at all to do with the actual event (stamped-it-no-erasies, cross my heart).

It was my fault entirely. I had put up the frame myself. I used one of those sticky tab things; completely idiot-proof until it is in the hands of an idiot. Whatever. I tried. Why, you might ask, did I not ask the Carpenter to simply drive a nail into the wall and put up the picture for me? That is a really good question. Here is my superb answer: neither one of us really likes the photo.

This borders on matrimonial blasphemy, I know, but it’s true. The Carpenter and I have hid that photo behind a cabinet since we moved houses almost three years ago. Somehow it was the one photo that never quite found its real estate on a wall in our new home. This is not because we don’t look at our wedding as a special memory. Oh, it was special alright (insert your own punch line here).  Now we both look back at that image of the two of us and laugh (almost nervously) for the two fools in the picture.

We looked like two kids in our parent’s dress-up clothes. In my recollection, that’s kind of how it felt. The Carpenter had a skinny moustache that looked more like a caterpillar got tired and took a rest atop his lip. I looked much like I do now, with bone-straight hair that defied all attempts of a hair-stylist to primp me to perfection. With barely any make-up on, I looked pretty much like the girl who walks down the street every day, but this time in a really fabulous, pouffy dress, without my beloved barn boots.

Most of our wedding day was a blur of faces and flashbulbs. What I do remember were the vows, written by both of us so that they would be genuine words, real in their intention, and authentically us. At the heart of it, we promised to be friends, to respect who we are as individuals, but to always work together as a team.  That is the Coles Notes version, people. I promise it was more poetic in person.

Perhaps that fateful picture fell off the wall to announce the presence of a head cold, which, as it turns out, was the gift the Carpenter and I gave each other for our anniversary. Perhaps it was a sign to ensure we were living up to our vows. In the haze of nasal spray and comparisons of phlegm coloration, we actually forgot about our big day until we were standing right in it. This sounds tragic, I know, but truth be told, it was exactly as it should be. No cards, flowers or tokens of love, just tissues and taking turns with chest rubs (which sounds erotic until one of you is about to cough up a lung).  

We lived up to our vows. We have learned the secret to a good marriage is two televisions, so you can be independently sick in separate rooms with your own remote control. True love means boiling enough water for two lemon medicine drinks. It’s about giving each other space to heal so you are ready to tackle the world together the next day. A picture says a thousand words. Love doesn’t have to say anything at all.


Kelly Waterhouse