While Watching a Rerun of The Bob Newhart Show After Returning Home From a Wedding

20 Aug

August twentieth, two-thousand-sixteen. Blythe and Jason get married in a service that makes my eyes moist. The beginning of a lifetime together.

December, nineteen-eighty-five. A rerun of M*A*S*H was playing on the TV. Bonnie sat on the couch. I was doing some sort of exercise across the room, wearing shorts that would be way too short in 2016 (or for any year since then).

I stopped what I was doing, sat down next to Bonnie, and said, “So, you want to get married or what?”

“Are you serious?”
“I’d love to.”
(Hug. Kiss)
(Bonnie) “Are you sure?” (the Out presented)
“Yes, I am.” (Can’t back out now)
“OK.” (Deal signed.)
More discussion of some sort.
Back to exercise. (Distraction from intensively considering what I’d just done.)

March, nineteen-eighty-five. She of Iowa, me of Massachusetts, she living in DC , me living in Saint Louis. A simple hello during her first visit. I find a Ms. Magazine laying around our hospitality house.  I’d never heard of it before.  I read the cover and peeked at an article or two. I ask some housemates jokingly, “Who’s reading this crap?” “Oh, I think that girl who’s staying here,” someone replies. I’d forgotten That-Girl was staying with us. “Some girl’s staying with us?” someone else asks.

Weeks-later, nineteen-eighty-five. A bit of chit chat on Some-Girl’s next visit. Weeks later yet, I ask Some-Girl-Bonnie if she’d like to visit the St. Louis Zoo. She’s interested. A ride on the train around the zoo. Later, a neck massage; a first kiss.

Weeks-and-weeks, nineteen-eighty-five. Many minutes of late night telephone conversations after the long-distance rates drop down. I’m a broke intern; Bonnie’s phone bill gets big.

October, nineteen-eighty-five. Flying to DC to help Bonnie pack up her belongings and to help drive them and her back to Saint Louis. An emotionally traumatic thirty-year birthday for her. The additional trauma of having quit a job of some years and moving to Saint Louis to be near a guy she met merely several months ago. The Greatest Trauma: mouse turds on the bedspread in the flea-bag motel in Indiana. At least there weren’t any fleas.

Post-engagement, nineteen eighty-five. One of my Saint Louis housemates, without fail, introduces us to others, over and over again, as, “This is Chris. This is Bonnie. His fiancée. She’s sooo good for him.” This continues even after the wedding. What’s wrong with me that I need a Sooo-Good-For-Him?

August two-thousand-sixteen. I’m fifty-six and only beginning to realize why I needed, have needed, and still need a Sooo-Good-For-Him.

August sixteenth, nineteen-eighty-six. A wedding ceremony. Hung over. Realize the morning of the wedding that I’d forgotten to get my wedding suit pants hemmed; JD pins then up. Forgot my contact lens, too, and went through the ceremony blind; my glasses were absolutely god-awful ugly.

Good years. Children. Tough years. Good years.

August sixteenth, two-thousand-sixteen: a 30th wedding anniversary.

August twentieth, two-thousand-sixteen. Blythe and Jason get married, in a service that made my eyes moist. Words shared, word that impressed me and moved me, and that made me wonder, “Could I have written those back then?” or at least written them and owned them. I’m not sure.

Whatever exactly our words were back then,
whatever happened during the GoodyearsChildrenToughyearsGoodyears,
here we are thirty years later: Chris and She’s-Sooo-Good-For-Him.

Not so much Two-Peas-In-A-Pod as like Beauty and the Beast. Or maybe better, Nala and Simba. I’m not sure who we’re most like; we’re Us. Somewhat alike. So much different. Still learning to dance together. We blend Ballet and Salsa, with a dash of Tap. Whatever it ends up being called, it’s our style.

For now we’ll call our style Patient/Kind/Quiet/Humble/Not-envious/Honoring/Selfless/Not-easily-angered/Keeps-no-record-of-wrongs/Protects/Trusts/Hopes/Perseveres. It’s uniquely ours, yet it’s actually a style that’s existed forever but was first described as such around AD 53-57. We’re born able to do it, but usually have to learn it over. If we don’t, then our clumsy life-dancing has lots of tugging, pushing, discord and toe-stepping-0uch-Ouch-OUCH-OUCH!-I’m-going-home.  Practice. This dance style can maintain and transform relationships, marriage or otherwise.

May we dance another thirty years, So-Good-For-Me. We’re getting pretty good, I think. How beautiful will we become?

May Blythe and Jason dance a lifetime.

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