As is often the case, this happened long before the concept of a ‘bucket list’ had entered my mind, but without this first tick in the box nothing that follows would have any value.
Nonetheless, even with the best of partners, the path of true love often seems more like a rutted farm track than a six lane freeway and my idealised picture of marital bliss as a kind of ‘roses around the door and apple pie in the oven’ existence didn’t last long in the face of reality. I was heartbroken to realise that what I had previously thought to be my knight’s shining armour was just the reflection from his car’s expensive paintwork. This man, whom I had believed to be perfect, picked his nose, left wet towels on the bed and always insisted on washing his car the minute my parents arrived for a visit.
It’s become increasingly obvious to me over the years that men and women find very different things funny. Have you any idea how hard it is to stay romantically devoted to a man who finds it absolutely hilarious to push your head under the duvet as he lets rip with a gale force fart? Yet another favourite pastime is to intentionally leave the toilet seat up so that I fall through the porcelain rim into the cold wet bowl in the middle of the night, but the event that will go down in family history is the one known as the “Great Explosion”.
Our old but reliable washing machine was working quite fine at the time, despite a slight grinding sound as it spun the washing. It really didn’t need fixing but my knight was unhappy. Soon, it was in pieces on the kitchen floor. Experience has taught me to send up a few silent prayers to the appliance gods and leave him to it. Hours later, he appeared triumphantly in the doorway, “It’s fixed now,” he said in a self satisfied tone, “Why don’t you put on a load to test it?” Well, the explosion was so loud I thought I’d been shot. You’d think he would be embarrassed but no, he laughed so hard that tears streamed down his face. It’s incidents like this that prove that sometimes love is a conscious act of the will!
Nevertheless, it’s very easy to fall in love all over again with that same man when he holds me close even though I have a raging temperature and smell worse than a wet dog; is my pillar when my mother dies and is only concerned for my safety when I smash his precious car. He’s also the man who secretly bought and installed a bright, gleaming new washing machine to replace the old tatty one he blew up.
I often ponder on the question of what love is and how you know when you have found it. I don’t mean the sort of love you feel for your Mom, sister, friend or even your dog, but rather the kind that has you grinning foolishly at strangers, and compels you to waltz astonished co-workers around the tearoom to the rhythm of the song in your heart. At least that’s how it was for me in the beginning.
During my early twenties I met a man in a pub. I fell in love with his sense of humour and to this day he makes me laugh more than anyone I know. Our wedding invitations showed a very cute cartoon couple all dressed up in their nuptial finery and emblazoned with the words “Love is …Getting Married”. By today’s standards they are incredibly kitsch, but in the glow of our naïve young love, they seemed just perfect.
So what exactly is love? Over the years, I have come to realise that it is one of those things that, if you’re lucky, evolves and deepens as you both grow as individuals and learn to understand each other. Nothing is perfect but as I can still look back over my life with the man who is my husband, my best friend and my lover and say that there have been more good times than bad, we’ve been richer than we’ve been poor, we spent more time in health than we were sick and we still love each other, I’m well satisfied. Perhaps after another thirty four years I may even feel qualified to comment on what love is but for now I only know that it is so much more than just getting married
Number 1 on the list … tick … moving on.