“Happy Anniversary Baby!
Got you on my mii- ii -iind.”
with thanks to the Little River Band.
Yesterday marked our 18th year of marriage. It was like any normal Monday. The morning rush, followed by a quick dash to school, and work (for some). It was 11 a.m. before I remembered what day it was. At 11:05 I was on my bike, madly thrashing at the pedals as I steered toward town.
At midday, I walked into the office where my wife works and handed her a bunch of flowers. She smiled, and I got a warm kiss. Then she admitted that she had forgotten our anniversary as well! The day was getting better 🙂 We had lunch together, and afterwards I pedalled home in a reflective frame of mind.
I thought about our wedding day, our engagement, our first date, and shook my head in wonder. It wasn’t supposed to last. First of all, she was my mates’ little sister. A golden rule of mateship is that we don’t date our mates’ little sisters. He suggested it once, and I thought about it, but I didn’t do anything because, well, he’s a good mate. Then one night they picked me up off the street, literally, after I’d ‘won’ a drinking contest at a local nightclub. On the way home, I asked her out… apparently.
The first I knew about it was when I rolled round to the mates’ place the next day, to thank him for giving me a lift home. He smiled at me and said, “So, where are you taking my little sister tonight?” I stared at him, “Nowhere, why?”
She appeared in the window, “Hi! I’m really looking forward to going out with you tonight, do you have anything planned?”
I closed my gaping mouth, “Yeah, sure! I’ll be round to pick you up at seven-ish, we’ll go out for dinner ok?”
“Great! See you then!” She disappeared back inside, and my mate grinned at me, “You’d better get your arse into gear mate,” he said, “she’s talked about nothing else all day.” There was no warning sign of anger in his eyes, although in my hungover state I was probably missing all sorts of important signals.
We went out. It was a nice evening. I spent more and more time over at the mates’ place, and it became pretty obvious that I was there to see his sister nowadays.
The boys at work were onto the news in a flash, and I was offered lots of advice eg: The girl you go out with is totally different to the girl you marry, then she changes again when the kids come along… and you don’t want to even know about the horrors of menopause, added one old timer who wore the hang dog expression of a battered husband. One of the younger tradesmen, a bit of a hippy, even matched our stars, “Not good man,” he sighed, shaking his head a little, “you’re a swinging Libran, she’s brown shoe wearing Capricorn, too sensible for you, it won’t last.” The omens were ill indeed.
In spite of the fact that we were in danger of offending the gods, we kept seeing eachother. And eventually, over a period of months, she moved into my unit. I remember asking her one day, “So, when are you thinking of going home?” She gave me a strange look and said, “I am.” Okaaay… this would explain why my laundry work had tripled almost overnight, and the appearance of knicky knacky objects from her room were now scattered amongst the tools and engine parts in my spartan little flat.
We lived together for 5 years, survived the odd spat, my time at the mines, and the time I left town looking for work. She joined me in Brisbane, a big step away from her family, and the town she had known all her life.
A year later we were still in the city, and I had finally landed a full time job. The pay was crap, but it meant I wasn’t expected to travel round the country side looking for any casual work that sprang up. It was time to think. I confided to one of my new workmates that I was going to pop the question. He looked alarmed, “Are you nuts?!” he cried, “do you know what the divorce rate is for couples who marry after living together long term?” I shrugged my shoulders, I did’nt have a clue. “Well, I’ll tell you,” he said, “it’s 2 out of 3. If you marry this girl mate, you’ll be making a huge mistake, you’ll be divorced in months, seen it all before.” He was a lifelong bachelor. Come to think of it, he still is…
Another friend, thinking along the same lines, decided to add his voice as well, “You realise you’re both too different to make it work, don’t you? I mean, you don’t really have all that much in common, no similar interests or hobbies.”
I had never thought about it, “Well, it seems to be going ok so far?” I replied.
He smirked, “Yeah, well, wait til you’re married mate, then you’ll get to meet the real woman behind the friendly face.” Funny thing is, I saw his ex-wife last month, she looks a lot happier these days.
Anway, I held off making a move for a little bit, then a couple of weeks later my girlfreind announced that she was going home for a week to visit her parents. It was time for me to do some real thinking. Three days later I rang her mum and asked her for her daughters hand. Her response, “Well, it’s not before time is it?” No. She put her daughter on the phone, and I asked her the question. She said, “Yes!” She was happy, I was happy.
It was a good day.
We got married a year later here in Gladstone. It was another good day. It didn’t start off too well though, I still maintain I had food poisoning, but my father insists that it was nerves that caused me to have a dose of the runs and pukes on the morning of the big day. Thankfully it cleared up and the wedding went off without a hitch. Afterwards we honeymooned for a couple of weeks mooching down the coast road visiting beachside villages along the way.
Three weeks later we had our first real argument, which took both of us by surprise. We survived it though, and you may be surprised to learn that we’ve had a couple more since 🙂
And here we are now, middle aged, kids, debt, careers, the whole deal, still together. I don’t know how or why, but I’m not going to tamper with a winning formula! My old workmates were right though, she has changed, but then we all have, and that’s a good thing. Life would be too predictable, too stale otherwise, I like the variety that growing old together offers.
I reached home and was putting my bike in the shed when I remembered what my old Uncle in Maryborough said a couple of years ago. We were watching his wife, my Auntie, backing his car out of the driveway, “She’s a good old model that one, I don’t think I’ll trade her in just yet,” he muttered.
I smiled, “You must really like that car, because you’re always getting rid of them and buying new ones.”
He turned to me with a gleam in his eye, “Wasn’t talking about the bloody car boy!”
I know how he feels. When you find a good one you hang on to it, and don’t trade it in for quids!
So, “Happy Anniversary Baby! Makes you want to smii–ii–le!”