The Atlantic was calm that afternoon, with the slow tidal ebb and flow framed by a clear blue sky and a nearly empty beach. The view from the floor-to-ceiling beach house window briefly included a trio of dolphins in the distance, said by some to be a sign of good luck. That became the signal for us to walk across the dune ramp and pick our spot in the sand.
Our party of six included me, my bride, the minister, his wife and a couple we
knew who lived a few miles away. The Outer Banks beaches near Kitty Hawk NC
seemed to be the perfect spot for our wedding because we loved visiting there.
A small, simple ceremony, written partly by me, with only the minimum number of
people in attendance was exactly the right formula for our kind of wedding.
In retrospect, the word 'our' is not really accurate. I fooled myself into
thinking that's what 'we' wanted but it was really only what she wanted. I am
happy to exercise give-and-take in a relationship but that turned out to be the
beginning of many years of me giving and her taking. I was blind to that at the
time. To this day I don't know why I ignored the warning signs but on that day
life was good and I still have a few photographs of our silly smiles and a
printout of the vows we said, claiming we would weather life's storms like the
ocean where we stood. Or something like that.
By the way, that day was twenty years ago this week. Twenty. Two zero. At the time
I expected to still be celebrating anniversaries. Looking back, I'd say the
marriage began its slow death a mere five or six years later and the first nail
in the coffin was the year she completely forgot the anniversary. I mentioned
it to her to which she replied, "oh, that's today?" Adding to
my disappointment was the fact that my sister was living with us at the time,
waiting for post-hurricane flood waters to recede back in her New Orleans home,
and she witnessed my facial reaction. I thought only guys forgot
I've been on my own for almost four years now and lived in our guest room for a
couple of years before that. On this day every year I try to remember the good
times. Yes, there were good times. But the bad times came to dominate and each
argument served as a reminder of how disconnected we truly were.
My life truly is good now. I'll drink to that tonight. I celebrate that every
day and every night. Here's to twenty years of THIS life! Cheers!!