11. my story doesn’t have an end
Posted April 9, 2014on:
we need to smile more
in times when it becomes difficult…
need to abandon prayers but not hope
or maybe a smile is a primitive form of prayers
we should smile more. And we say “I love you” to mean it
when we get to the bottom of our fates
we love because we have nothing else
[in our most difficult time]
Between the two of us, there are so many anniversary dates that I can’t even keep them straight.
Like, the first time we got married, I looked over his school insurance policy and said, “You shouldn’t pay $400 a year for this crap, it barely covers anything. Let’s just go to the city hall and get married, because my employer can cover both of us for less than $100/month, and it includes everything.” He said, “Sure, let’s.” So the next day, I pulled an online appointment, called a friend that I’m fond of to be our witness, and it was set that we would get married at 1:30pm on a Friday, immediately after he completed his last final for the semester. I had already informed my parents about this step, and my dad was like “OK, sure, great, bye.” So then it was his turn to call, and he just went, “Um, mom, this Friday I’m going to get married, at 1:30pm, ok? We’re going to the city hall… yeah… ok…. ok… bye, mom.” As soon as he hung up, I pointed at his face and said, “YOU! You have just tarnished my impeccable reputation and virtue by making it sound like I’m pregnant and we must have an immediate shot gun wedding against your will !!”
Sure enough, within 5 minutes, his dad called right back and said, “Lemme talk to [name of bride to be]!” Yeah, just skip the bumbling fool of a son and go right to the source, dad.
dad: child, I’m very happy to hear this news, but is there something else you have not told us?
me: uh… no?
dad: are you sure?
me: I’m 100% positive, I’ve already kicked his ass for making it sound like we have something else going on, but we are doing this right away because his insurance sucks and I want him well covered.
December 17th was our first anniversary, and we tend to remember this date the most, but there had been years we completely forgot, as the babies ate our brain and pooped out 10 diapers/day.
The second date we sometimes remember and sometimes forget is the day right before New Year’s Eve. That was when we threw an engagement party (after we got married) so that the two families could meet… for the first time.
Four years later, after he graduated and I quit my job to move east with him, we held a church wedding and banquet, one week before the cross country move. He can barely remember this date.
Now he shuffles the days and months together, so sometimes I get a “happy birthday!” on our anniversary date, other times I get “I thought today is something special? no? not a significant date to remember?? really??”
I can’t remember the last time we did anything extraordinary on our anniversary. I just request that he gets that day off if possible, and we hang around, watching the day changes from morning to night together.
Ah, well, you’re here to find out about the ending. Before we get there, here’s another kicker.
To get the Vatican’s blessings for our marriage, which was my one ultimate filial act for my mom, we had to pay some hefty fees to the church and then we were required to attend a marriage workshop prior to receiving the holy sacrament of matrimony. To our pleasant surprise, we actually enjoyed the workshop, it was well ran. One of the final activities required each of us to write a love letter to the other. Thing is, to me, I only write love letter when I feel like it, when I’m in the mood. I can crank out a love letter if my life depends on it, but I prefer not to. It’s just me. So when I wasn’t in the mood that day, I wrote mine in a mixture of French, Spanish, and English with exclamation points in every other sentence, in between snorts resulting from suppressed giggles. When it was time for us to deliver our words of love, I received the first actual love letter from him, ever.
I tried to keep it. It was around for about three years, I think. Then maybe I totally threw it away mindlessly after so many moves. I read it about two times. Or one and a half. It made me sad. He was pledging his eternal love and devotion to me, naming me as the guidance and support in his life, thanking me for 1001 things that I have done for him, and he thought he would never have gotten to where he is without me.
It’s the truth. It was what I had done to chain him to me. And I didn’t want to confirm it.
I wasn’t just seducing him and trying to get into his bed in those 4 years. I was picking up a rubble of a man and rebuilding him, piece by piece. I rarely ever praised anyone in my life, but I praised him for every good point he had or earned. If he was unsure or seemed concerned about something, I coached him on how to tackle it or how to overcome it. I encouraged him to pursue whatever he wanted to do with his carreer. I coached him through med school interviews and gave him prep talks reminding him of his strengths. I spent 5-6 hours each day poring over stats and information relating to med school and the field of medicine so that I could help guide him. When he was in school, I used to spoon feed him his meals when he was short of time. It was like he had a personal manager who could take care of all things for him. When he went for interviews, I used to type all his itineraries that I had pre-booked for him, starting with his flight, when he lands, where to pick up reserved car, map with route to hotel, when to check in, where to dine, what to wear for interview, map of interview location…. If there were 10 interviews in 10 different cities, then each city was detailed like that.
I used to put out his outfit everyday, or sat watching my hairdresser working on his hair with hawk eyes, cooked and packed all his meals. I used one brand of shampoo, 1 brand of lotion on myself so that the smell sticks to him. He was a creature of habit through and through, so i built this safe and familiar shell around us, drawing him in, so that he would always wanted to immediately return home wherever he may have gone. I put in extra effort to look good in front of others for the sake of his pride. He may not have cared, but I went all out anyway. His parents and older relatives had excellent relationship with me, especially the #1 woman in his life at the time – mom.
Have I not heard of the expression, If you love someone set them free, if they come back it was meant to be ? Yes, that and about 1000 more of the likes, and they work well in dramas or novels and inspirational love songs. They also work well on a deserted island, I think. But to me, it felt like life or death when I lived through unrequited love. You know those pesky 2nd leads who keep on manipulating our One True Couple in your favorite shows? I feel for them. When I said I would no longer play fair, I meant it. I operated under the assumption that he does have feelings for me, that we are compatible in almost all aspects; so while I didn’t understand why we could not be a couple as he would not elaborate, I gave myself my best shot – I wanted him, I will have him.
Sometimes we would fight. He would say, you always want to have things your way.
And I would say: yes, that’s me!
But I am not closed minded. I will always try to convince you to do things my way, but if you disagree, fight me. I am open and willing to concede if you give me a good fight. Don’t follow me just because you want to please me. I won’t take responsibility for that kind of complacency.
While I did manipulate him, I told him what I was doing as soon as it produced results. Those were my fair warnings. If he didn’t like it, then then he should have fought it. He never did.
You could try to tell me that the kind of love that is chained by obligation, emotional debts, baggages… it can’t be healthy in the long run. But you could be as old as 90 or as smart as Einstein, and I would still say: You’ll never know, people.
I only know about myself, and i operated with what I know. Had I been rich, I would have showered him with money if that would mean I get to keep him. Had I been powerful, I would have used my influence on him. The only thing I would not have done would be to force him to be with me when he has 0 interest. But as long as he continued to give me mixed signals, I would have gone to the end of the earth for him.
Relationships, people; both are simultaneously predictable and unpredictable. People have been known to fall passionately in love for all the right reasons, get married, then have a kid and their lives just fall apart. The ones who act out the sappiest love scenes in public are the ones I’ve seen to simply separate overnight. The tumultuous couples who air all their dirty laundries seem to sometimes fare much better. And if I have not learned anything else from him, I’ve learned this: You may think you know them when you see them like that, but you don’t. Just let them be.
What ending from my story were you waiting for? I have no ending because I’m still living it.
When he married me my battle was yet to be won. The strongest sentiment that floated to the top was gratitude, the palpable string I had used to tie him to me. I threw his one and only love letter away since it wasn’t what I wanted to keep. Am I unhappy, then? Far from it. Having been with him all this time, I’ve also come to learn that he is one to act, not dwelling so much on words. That he used to drive around town looking for me when I didn’t come home from work in the days when we were still housemates. That he would choose to side with me regardless of whether I’m in the right or wrong. The countless things he has done and will do for me and just me, maybe somedays I will think they are enough. Maybe there will come a time I will accept the answer he has been offering me: “I don’t think much about the past, I just let it be, since I have you with me now and in the future and that’s what matter.” He says it in his corniest tone, which makes it hard to believe.
We have been through the thick and thin of lucks, and these are our happy days. In reminiscing our story, I am reminded of my one time all consuming passion that has since reduced to a smolder as the kids took over our lives. I am striving to change all that. I have set a new goal for myself, and I will make him into a new puddle of goo in my hand in due time. He won’t be counting gratitude when he comes out of this one.
so my story stops here, but it doesn’t have an end –
(why am I stopping on chapter 11? Isn’t that bankruptcy ?? should I worry?)