Thursday, February 16, 2006

Anniversary Song

Today is a day like any other for most people, and a day that comes once a year for a few people like me. This is the date we settled on as our anniversary five years ago. At the time it seemed like the best fit, the best approximation of when We began. Not the first date, not the first time falling into bed, but a beginning that came somewhere between those two other mileposts.

It’s so very middle school. It feels so demeaning to the relationship to have to sift through the complex layers of attraction, exploration, and discovery to identify the nickpoint, the Continental Divide between who we were before and who we subsequently became. If you ever dated someone in high school or college you know what I’m talking about, giggling with your friends as you talk about the dance, the first kiss, dragging out the night in the car in the driveway before reluctantly surrendering to the clock and going inside, and waking up the next morning to an entirely new species of light shining through your window, thinking before thinking anything else, ah, yes, I’ve got someone. The awkward, stumbling celebration of “our one-month anniversary” and feeling, at the six-month mark, that you’d accomplished something major.

Then you got married and all those other invented, adopted anniversaries fell by the wayside. That was the one that counted, after all, and once you were in an official, stamped-and-sealed marriage of your own, it was hard not to smile condescendingly behind your hand when your single friends talked about having to find the perfect gift because, you know, their three-month anniversary was coming up and they wanted it to be extra special this month…

Then you got divorced and you came out and you found the love of your life and suddenly you realize you’re smack-damn-back in the middle of sophomore year ticking the days off the calendar toward your sort-of anniversary, and you feel more ambivalent about it every year.

Well, maybe you didn’t. I did, and do.

For what it’s worth, we’ve been together five years today, roughly, give or take a week or three, with a house, a mortgage, and a jointly purchased sideboard to show for it, a general reluctance to adopt the trappings of a marriage the state won’t recognize preventing us from making more than a token effort to look at rings or talk about a ceremony. A lot of “real” marriages don’t last this long.

It’s difficult not to be a tad melancholy.

Not that it matters much, anyway.

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