In just five days, R and I will complete a whole eight years of marriage. Eight days into a month that we are going to mostly spend apart. EIGHT. YEARS. It has been a recurring theme in my mind of late, that I have now lived with R for almost a decade. And boy, what a ride this has been. The reason I don’t write (or even think) much about our marriage anymore because of how much it has become a part of me. How much in sync we have been and how we have both come into our own, he with his waiting before reacting, hearing every side of the story and still not forming a harsh opinion, putting his all into his work, tuning out the cacophony, and evaluating – constantly. Me? I am revelling in the cacophony, forming opinions, changing them, reacting, letting the winds of information, noise, and newfangled ambitions blow me wherever they want before stepping away for a bit and evaluating with a clear head.
These last eight years have been calm, peaceful, easy. And I can claim pretty much no credit for that. On the surface, it all just fits. It flows. Beneath the surface, our parents are ageing, our responsibilities have taken shape. Together, we have made momentous decisions. Just flowing, from one phase to another. Mindfully aware of the consequences of our decisions, even more aware of the camaraderie, the staunch, single minded support that makes the decisions that much easier. They make responsibilities feel like child’s play, even when we are aware of the significance, the landmark nature of each of them.
We have argued, we have weighed each other’s opinions, we have challenged them. I have had my share of heartburn and small victories challenging rules, questioning “the way things are done” – loudly and unabashedly. R has rebelled too, but in his own quiet way, firmly standing his ground, and mostly being sensible. If I don’t take no for an answer from the world, he seems to tell the world he doesn’t really care. And together, our approach to the rules somehow just fit. Like pieces of the puzzle, he the square one – straight, honest, focused, determined and most of all, giving. And me, the amoeba, shifting weight, shifting shape, wondering, wandering, giving. But also taking. Mental bandwidth, questions, indecision, relentless analysing and overanalysing. R? He gives. The bandwidth, the answers, the gentle goading to go out there and do what I need to, the holding back when I go too far in my vague, fantastical parallel universe, wondering, aloud, why the world is not ideal. He gives ideas. Things to mull over. The reasons why the world isn’t what I want it to be. The reality of conditioning, that often escapes me. I lap it all up and present a whole new question in return. And somehow, the exchange goes on. Fun is made. Questions are held close. Answers, even more so.
The last time I wrote about our anniversary, it was all new. Three years down, all the way back in 2012. We were still learning to live with each other, and we were not entirely adults as far as life experience went. Now that we are, adults with life experience that is, our everydays still don’t feel any different. Our response to life is still as different as chalk and cheese. And yet, our world view has taken a whole new shape, one that is a bit of both of us. The individualistic elements are palpable but the final shape itself – all new. I am just that much more cautious, he just that much more open. And this life we have made for ourselves? All the new developments and responsibilities and work and learning (and some disappointments) have been taking our individual mindshares now more than ever, and yet life never felt easier. Or better.
Many, many, many years ago, I had a quote somewhere on the inside panel of my study table and then, get this, in my first ever email signature. It said “There are too many mediocre things in life. Love shouldn’t be one of them.” I just didn’t know what extraordinary love feels like. It feels ordinary. It feels like something you don’t think or write about. But it’s there. Palpable. In the decisions, the changes. In the jokes. In the laughter. In conversations. In the letting go. In the holding your ground. In the small things.