||[Sep. 18th, 2004|11:01 pm]
Five years ago tonight I was three sheets, two pillowcases, a dust ruffle and several doilies to the wind, celebrating my impending marriage with Ferrett and fellow friends in a small Irish bar in Stamford, CT. On that night I learned the allure and the danger of a well-made Long Island Iced Tea - five of them, in fact. It was only through the diligence and expertise of my doting fiance that I avoided the mother of all hangovers and was able to enjoy our wedding day.
Five years, we've been married. Five years full of change and strife and the struggle for two headstrong people to learn how to live together.
We never lacked love - we were, in fact, awash in it even at the worst of times. We fought so passionately because we cared so much.
I couldn't recognize that for a while. When the opportunity came to move to Cleveland, I saw it as a chance to make things at least partially right. I had forced Ferrett to move to Alaska - at least he would be back in the Lower 48 when the inevitable breakup finally came.
I was certain that we weren't going to make it. I was fraught with contingency plans. My heart was divided, and I pulled it further and further away from him until at last I blurted out the truth.
I didn't love him anymore.
By all accounts, this should have been a two-year marriage, the rebound relationship, a lesson learned from which I would move on, bruised but intact, a bit wiser.
What happened next was completely unpredictable. A miracle.
Ferrett heard my words. I saw them penetrate. But instead of grabbing his suitcase, packing up his belongings and leaving behind invective, he just nodded.
Okay, he said. Let's work from there. I didn't think I wanted to. It seemed too hard, my head was already in another space. But I couldn't make him leave, because an anchor remained.
I liked the guy. I couldn't bear the thought of losing him as a friend, even in the deepest despair when I couldn't bear the thought of keeping him as a partner. Even when I thought I couldn't stand him, the truth is that a tiny ember of friendship remained.
What can you do then, except try?
From there, we built an amazing relationship. One that has withstood earthquakes and nuclear bombs. One that, though left in ash more than once, we have replanted and made fertile.
We have grown something together that is strong and true. Our bond has withstood assaults from without, and my own stubborn undermining. It has thrived while Ferrett learned to be more accepting and I learned to be less defensive. Even as we have each been bowed by personal crisis, crushing work loads, grief, and stress, it has grown stronger.
To me it is a smooth granite stone in the center of all the chaos, impacted by the incoming "heartaches and natural shocks to which the flesh is heir" but never damaged by them.
Three years ago, unsure of ourselves and circling like two exhausted boxers in the 18th round, we bought this house. From the moment we walked through the door, we felt that it was a blessed place, a place of peace and happiness. It took us a while to really incorporate that into ourselves, but we finally did last December, when a crisis came that left us with a choice: everything, or nothing at all.
We chose everything.
Three years ago we moved in here. Tomorrow we will renew our vows, standing by the fountain in the garden that we have nurtured. We will celebrate five years of love, of committment and hard work. And the miracle that can be born when you just won't give up.