Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Confidence Trick

Today is the 25th Wedding Anniversary of the Teacher and I.

We've been so busy we hadn't even thought about what we would do to celebrate. In some ways we don't really think it's necessary - we don't need to celebrate because we are who we are.

Does that make any sense?

Celebrating is what is expected, but both of us have spent our lives not doing what's expected, we don't need anyone's approval - except each other's.

Which brings me to the title of this blog.

You see, the Teacher said something to me which was, quite honestly, the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me in my entire life. A mere eight words. Not especially private but so packed with subtext that I was stopped in my tracks. She writes the best dialogue. Did wonders for my self-confidence. I won't say what the words were because they mean very little out of context - in fact they would seem corny.

There are several reasons we've lasted 25 years, but there's no "trick" that anyone else can employ: One is that we agree on almost everything (not to say we don't argue sometimes, but it's quite rare); we are so stubborn that we both decided long ago that nothing would get in our way; never taking each other for granted; and then there's the "L" word, though the word "Love" doesn't do any justice to what's between us.

So what's love got to do with it?

We met at a student party in Manchester (although I wasn't a student any more) - we were both friends of the person who was running it. My first words to the Teacher (she wasn't actually a teacher then, of course) were "I'm getting over a bad affair." "Oh, really?" she said, and left quickly. It was one of the two times in my life I've been drunk - though I was never so drunk as to forget what was happening.

It wasn't love at first sight but there was something about her. I did talk to her a bit later on but didn't ask her name. The following day I asked our mutual friend who she was. The mutual friend (who had been a girlfriend of mine at one time) seemed to think that we would be right for each other so gave me her number.

So I made dinner for the Teacher. She told me afterwards she'd had a long chat with the mutual friend about me and apparently I got a decent reference. I was safe to have dinner with, although the Greek mushrooms didn't work.

We spent a few months getting to know each other and then the Teacher went to India for 6 weeks. When she came back I proposed (for the third time) and she accepted.

Is it love? I don't think so, at least not what most people think of when they say "love". It is more than love - more like a crystalline certainty and an unquestionable rightness. Impossible to describe.

We married less than a year later (we met December 1982, married May 1984). Neither of us could ever see the point of long engagements. An engagement is "an engagement to marry" so if you don't get married then you're living a lie. (We are two of a kind and can be very unsympathetic.)

The Teacher has no family (I mean no family) which is very sad, but I have more than enough for both of us. But then given our tendency for self-reliance this has never been an issue. Apparently I wouldn't have liked her mother (who had died shortly before we met), and her mother wouldn't have liked me.

The rest is 25 years of marital bliss ... well no. Who in their right minds wants "bliss"? Bleaugh!

Twenty-five years of stubbornly doing things our way. Making huge mistakes and pulling ourselves out of the holes we dug ourselves into.

But, you know, to hell with what's expected. Play the game your own way.

What's on the turntable? "White Fool" by Clannad from "Pastpresent"


Janice Okoh said...

sounds lovely. I think true love is really rare. Congratulations.

Jason Arnopp said...

Cool story, Sir. I like it. Congrats.

Rachael Howard said...

Happy Anniversary and may it go on for another 25yrs, 50yrs, ...

Elinor said...

Happy Anniversary!

Eleanor said...

Happy Anniversary!

missread said...

ah, what a lovely story. Happy Anniversary.