I have now, as of this weekend, been married for as long as I was alive when I first met the Carpenter. That’s the age when we met and there was no denying we had trouble to cause together.
Boyfriend and girlfriend. Carpentry apprentice and university student. Twenty-two years-old turned twenty-two years married in what feels like a blur of highs and lows, ebbed and flowed between the one constant of a daily question: “what do you want for dinner?” And a daily response, “I don’t know. What do you want?” Life. Awesome.
Remember when 22 years old felt grown-up, but it wasn’t? That’s how 22 years of marriage feels too; mature but also surreal, because two people who refused to grow-up are now using words like credit line, pension plan, and discussing how we’ll handle retirement. Sorry, how he’ll handle retirement, because he has a union pension. Me? I’ll be working until he agrees to finally become my Sugar Daddy. The negotiations for that are also surreal.
It’s cute, but once upon a time, the Carpenter figured his trade would render him unattractive to me, because I had such hopes for an academic life and would probably find a lawyer or doctor on campus that would suit my fancy and intellect. Ha, well, here we are in present day and I will still find any excuse to watch my Carpenter do home repairs in a toolbelt. It’s just so satisfying.
Back then, I was more insecure that he would eventually find a girl with a perfect curvy figure (who are we kidding, I think he was hoping for at least one curve), with a polite and complacent personality and less need to control the radio in the car. Someone quiet and sweet and happy to go along with whatever he wanted to do.
Yeah, so that didn’t happen. Turns out he liked me for all the things I saw as reasons not to like me: my independent spirit, the fact that I lacked vanity in the pursuit of a tomboy lifestyle, that while I had the figure of a twig (it’s okay, I’m making the joke so it’s allowed) that twig encased a very genuine and loyal heart.
Normal, balanced, smart and driven guy falls for quirky, highly sensitive and occasionally unstable girl, who just happens to have really great taste in music and cannot handle crappy songs on car rides, or ever. That’s a perfect match right there.
From the start, our relationship was unique to our peers. We didn’t follow the patterns that seemed set in stone. We skipped around them for years. We lived in different countries. We pursued different goals. We didn’t rush in. We didn’t flake out. Friendship. Tried, tested and true.
When I was 22, I believed the thing that bonded two people together was a big ceremony with vows and rings, and later, the start of a family. That’s what made things real and official. That’s what I believed. At 29, I married the Carpenter and our family began, and that’s when I discovered the truth.
Twenty-two years later, I know the anchor that grounds us through everything that life throws at us: we’re the best of friends. That’s it. That’s the secret to us.
The friendship of a lifetime.