A lot of people hear the term ‘love affair’ and they start thinking about scenes from a fairy tale, about balconies and boomboxes playing ‘In Your Eyes’.
But, the truth of the matter is that there is a whole lot more to ’em than that. At least, for the ones that last. Love is, we must remember, a heavily marketable commodity, bought and sold by the half-pound in the raw street markets that exist in the alleys back behind your ribcage.
We want it, all of us do.
No matter how warped we are or how steady we are or how misguided and misled we might unknowingly be.
We all want love and love affairs for ourselves because of a zillion different reasons, most of them selfish in the beginning, but gradually widening their scope and scheme as the years go by if we’re lucky enough to land in the right scenario for us.
Initial animal attractions spark and fire up the engines of momentum, for sure. But it’s the long miles ahead, the vast endless stretches of midnight freeway that we have to tackle without drifting off into the ditch that end up defining our most important romances in the end.
And, when we start to realize that stuff, well, that’s when we tend to have a bit of our first genuine perspective about ‘love affairs’ and how much more they really demand of us than what we like to imagine sometimes.
I have been married for 8 years. It’s an odd figure in a lot of ways, I suppose. It isn’t much compared to so many couples celebrating 20 or 30 years or more of togetherness, of one long-running love story. Yet, by today’s dicey standards, 8 years isn’t all that short either, huh? I mean, you and I both know plenty of people who seemed so well-matched, so ‘perfect’ for each other, but their love was dead and buried in a lot less time.
So, 8 years for me, maybe more for you. Maybe less. It doesn’t really matter all that much I guess, except that one of the things I find so fascinating about sharing my life with one other person is that the more time that goes by, the more attracted I am to the ragged dischord, to that slightly mildewy basement smell that I often sense in the less-than-perfect but intriguing waft of the magic of my own ‘love affair’.
Yeah, it can be ripe, sour even. But still, it’s such an f-ing interesting scent, you know? And I much prefer it to the gagging throat-full of Hollywood pollen that they lie to try and sell you. That’s all bullshit sprayed with Taylor Swift perfume, man. It smells like something you’ve been missing out on all your life, but really it’s just a cow’s butthole dipped in make-believe sauce.
I like being married to my wife.
Actually, scratch that, I love being married to her, is what I mean. But, I’ll be damned if I know exactly why, if that makes any sense to ya.
There isn’t a small list of things that I could write down for you. It doesn’t work like that, at least not in my case. It’s tough to put your finger on one or two things because inevitably they just lead you to some other tiny thing like, I dunno, ‘she is the best back rubber ever’ or “she knows when I’m sad.”
Instead, I find myself standing outside the gates of my ‘love affair’ a lot.
After a period of time together that isn’t really long or short, I find myself in a lonesome picnic, my set-up spread out all over six feet of the top of the damn bubble of our life together, popping cheese cubes in my mouth, sipping some cheap wine from a styrofoam cup on a clear ceiling far above our reality, my eyes picking apart the scene below me; my life unfolding; my love affair being written by me and her and the kids too, I guess.
And I just sit there and watch, trying to take it all in, eager to put a label on it somehow, to mark it ‘successful’ or ‘damaged’ or ‘in a holding pattern’ or whatever. I get hungry to look at us from the outside, the two of us standing there in the 7pm kitchen light, chopping an onion/opening a bottle of beer/changing sides on the record/rinsing a sippy cup/dancing around one another with the kind of orchestrated grace that would look so perfect up on an Broadway stage, really.
Dancing around the kitchen, our flesh wrapped around our bones wrapped around our hearts, barely bumping hips but every now and then, over by the silverware drawer, reaching for the same damn fork, a romance going down in Tuesday night Technicolor.
Living in a land where nothing is ever gonna be black and white again. And where it never really was in the first place.
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