The last time I was single, I was 19 years old.
look at that number and can't make it real. I don't know how to wrap my head
around the different person I was. At 19 I lived in 4 rooms and slept on
a mattress on the floor. Everything I owned was a hand-me-down. The
only things that I own now that I also owned then are Raggedy Ann and
When a marriage lasts as long
as mine did–and I'm going to count the 9 years we were together before
we got married–one really does cleave unto the other. You become one
flesh, from sheer attrition. A long marriage is a unit, Plato's
It isn't that from
the start. At the start it's just an experiment: sex and a fight over
whether it matters that you never screw the toothpaste cap back on, or
make the bed. At ten years it's a really long date. At 20 it's comfort.
At 40 years you don't exist without the other. I don't mean that in a bad way, or that one personality is subsumed into the other. It's that the shared experience is of such long duration that it becomes a single memory. It's marital Alzheimers-- half my memory is gone.
Raggedy Ann has been sitting on my shelf for almost 60 years, but Raggedy Andy had gone missing. While I was spring cleaning the house this year I found him. They sit on my shelf, together again like they were when I was 19.