Mr. B and I have been married for three whole years, which is longer than the restaurant this picture was taken at has been around (due to Russian business practices), and is about as long as my mom’s (photobombing the pic) been smiling with relief that I married someone Jewish, even if he did take me to a pork-ladden Oktoberfest this past Shabbat.
I was Terrified to get married and I called my mom crying every day for two weeks,paralyzed with fear that I was making the wrong decision and that Mr. B and I would have to eventually get divorced (did you really expect any less of me?) even when it was obvious that we fit together like two puzzle pieces.
I don’t just mean it in a cutesy way. We have complete opposite personalities, which is the only way we can live with each other, I think.
I come from a loud, aggressive family. In our careers, we are assertive, hierarchy-oriented, structured, and stick to the instructions given. In our home lives, we are aggressive and anal-retentive. We are loud, quick to anger, but also laughter. Everything has to be clean. Everything has to be looked after. Everything has to be in its place before we can relax. We live by lists and calendars. We hate inefficiency and appreciate good design.
Mr. B comes from a family of quiet dreamers. Or, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that Mr. B’s family is quieter, and he’s a dreamer. Of all the time I’ve known him, I’ve only heard him get really mad twice. And once he apologized to me for raising his voice at me. He’s logical and calm and really smart and removed from the heights of Machiavellian ambition. He helps me with my math homework slowly and methodically as I throw pencils on the floor in frustration.
“Don’t you miss DC,” I ask him almost every night as I strain to hear the planes landing at National Airport from our bedroom window and miss the hypnotic blinking of the Washington Monument. ”Yeah, I guess,” he pauses to think, “but I’m happy anywhere that you are,” he says without any second thoughts. While my mind is racing, comparing Philadelphia and Washington, planning our next escape from humdrum suburban America, planning our future, his is slowing mine down so I don’t clock over 100 m.p.h and self-combust.
Sometimes, I think we shouldn’t have lived apart no matter what. Because now I know what it would be like if I didn’t have him, and that What is miserable. Sometimes when I’m sitting in class once a week, sketching demand diagrams, and, in a flicker of my mind, I picture him sitting alone on the couch at home, and my heart curls into a little ball, even though there’s nothing wrong: he’s fed, taken care of, and warm. Before I got married, I was panicked, because how do you really know if you love someone. But I think the feeling I have in class is what love really is, and it’s not something you can feel instantly or that movies can teach you about. It’s the growing concern you have for a person you share your life course with, and I can only be so lucky that, at a stupidly scary age 19, walking across my college campus, the rain filling my shoes with cold discomfort, I decided correctly that this was the right person for me.
And now, because I hate sentimental crap, here is an interesting conversation Mr. B and I had last night:
Me: I’ve been thinking so much at work lately, I’m drained.
Mr. B: Did you know that if you think a lot, you burn a lot of calories?
Me: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. You’re telling me if I run for 20 minutes, it’s the same as if I think intensely for 20 minutes?
Mr. B: Yes. That’s why chess masters burn a shit-ton of calories per hour when they think.
Me: I don’t believe anything you just said. Citation needed.
Mr. B: *quiets down*
Mr. B: WHAT NOW. WHAT NOW. *sends me this link*
Me: *I don’t even bother looking at it* If that’s true, then why haven’t you lost, like, 30 pounds by now?
Mr. B: *with a straight face* That’s easy. I don’t play chess.