This is Happening

When it’s right, every meeting is accompanied by a sense of urgency: an impatience to know everything about the other, phrased in a manner that’s not so much intrusive as it is endearing. You come into the room wanting to hear about this other person’s toenails, and not being bothered when you get to the topic of infectious diseases. You smile at each other over your menus, delighting in the giddiness of the next days that will be just like this one. You jot down little mental notes, “Tomorrow, I can ask him about grade school.”

It takes a while before you get to favorite colors and backstories of family functions that preceded the first one he invites you to. It takes a while before you realize that there is no novelty to the experiences logged as topics of conversation between the two of you, but it’s in the telling, the mouth moving behind them that moves you to keep listening.

While nursing your drink, you ask yourself if he’ll hold your hair back in the event that you get a little too drunk. Will he check up on you the next day even after seeing your half-digested dinner spewed on the sidewalk. Will he have the grace not to bring up the more embarrassing incidents that had transpired the night before. And if the answer is yes, the list of questions, the situations prefixed with “Will he…” will just keep getting longer until they finally arrive at that one fateful conclusion.

There’s a proverbial “they” out there and and one of the things “they” will tell you is that marriage is one of the most important things that can happen in a couple’s life, but what of everything that happens after marriage. What about the part where you have to continue the story, where you get sick of the familiarity that has come to replace the urgent need to tell each other everything.

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