Remember in Back to the Future, when Marty McFly goes back to 1955 and starts poking around, changing the past? Then he looks at the picture of himself and his siblings that he keeps in his back pocket, and they start disappearing one by one?
I think about that often when I start thinking how nice it might be to go back and re-write history. Wouldn’t it have been so much better, I sometimes think, if Lee and I had just met in a bar? In an elevator? Both chasing the same cab? Anything, really, would have been easier than what actually happened.
We didn’t end up getting the hunky-dory ending that we thought we’d lucked into that night in Raleigh. The outcome we feared, the one where Steve doesn’t speak to us for the rest of our lives, has pretty much come true. I’m not sure what changed from the initial conversation, and I wouldn’t dare speak for him. I’m not sure I even blame him– I would have been mad if I were in his shoes.
Still, it sucked.
But I wouldn’t change it. Not in a hundred million years. Not if it changed one hair on my babies’ heads, one stick in this tiny old house we’ve loved and hated, one minute of the life we’ve built.
We’ve asked ourselves many times over the last eleven years: do you think we’re meant to be together? I always struggle with that sort of question. I believe in God, and I believe that God can lead a broken person like me [and wow I was a fixer-upper] to another broken person, and with time, He can make something whole out of it. But staying together while you wait for that wholeness to take shape is a choice you make every day.
It’s more of a commitment than a destiny.
I wrote Lee a letter once, which he still has, and in it I quoted a passage from The Sun Also Rises, our mutual favorite book.
He smiled again. He always smiled as though bull-fighting were a very special secret between the two of us; a rather shocking but really very deep secret that we knew about. He always smiled as though there were something lewd about the secret to outsiders, but that it was something that we understood. It would not do to expose it to people who would not understand.
“Your friend, is he aficianado, too?” Montoya smiled at Bill.
Aficion is passion, something Lee and I share. Sometimes this translates into fierce tempers, unfortunately. Once [not too long ago, actually] we got into a fight over whether or not something we were arguing about was worth the effort to argue. Apparently it was.
But more often, our aficion is put towards fiercely protecting what we have. I can’t imagine what would happen to make me decide I wanted out of my marriage, but as my friend Laura and I are fond of saying, I would BURN DOWN THIS HOUSE before I gave up on us.
So this might be the longest Valentine EVER, but really, all of this is just to say:
Thanks for putting up with me. But if you ever think you’ve had enough, [and I hope that never happens]
call the fire department first.