Ten years ago today, I went to the cinema and watched ‘Road Trip’ with my better half.
I remember how awful that movie was in places. I remember the two of us walking home as if there were clouds beneath our feet, nothing but smiles and joy enough to fill any heart. I remember kissing him on doorstep, because every girl should get a goodnight kiss from her date, and he just froze up because he was so nervous. I laughed, and after a moment, so did he.
October 21st is special. That was the day we started going out. It felt right, even then. It felt like forever. The longest we’ve spent apart since then was those six weeks when I had to do field work in Kerry, and even then he came to visit me because not being together hurt too much.
I remember when we moved in together, and my parents were hand-wringing over what I would do if we broke up. I never even considered it. I told them I wasn’t asking permission and they would not stop me, because I’d always been a bit headstrong, but mostly because I belonged to him and he belonged to me and by that stage neither of us could imagine a life without the other.
We ran away to Las Vegas to get married, away from the eyes of our families. I knew the grief it would cause, and I did it anyway. On the day, I wore a dress I’d bought from Macy’s for $12 and he wore jeans and a shirt, and the ceremony took all of five minutes and we drove away in a rented Corvette. No traditional Irish wedding, where there’s aunts and uncles everywhere and relatives I barely know and who barely know me, and people do things because that’s what you’re supposed to do at weddings, no matter how much it makes you wince. We went to the Star Trek Experience and had dinner in Quark’s Bar, and spent the evening talking and laughing and smiling at each other.
The day might have been given to our families, but I wanted it for us. For our love. No one else. It was everything I could have wished for.
Sometimes it works out, you know. Sometimes happily ever afters are real, and love endures, and ‘for better or worse’ isn’t just something the priest says. Sometimes all the stories come true, all the songs make sense, all the poetry makes you cry with happiness because you gambled with your heart and won. It’s not glamorous and it sure as hell isn’t newsworthy, but it feels like it should be.
Maybe I don’t tell him I love him often enough. But he knows me, and I know him, and we’ve spent ten years living inside each other’s lives. Some words are hard to say out loud, but it’s not so bad when you learn another language of looks, and little gestures, and smiles. A touch on the cheek. A pet name. A bunch of roses.
Ten years, and it’s felt like only one. There are other writers who can say it better than I can:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach.