Twenty-seven years ain’t a drop in the bucket, brothers and sisters, unless you are Cher, Joan Rivers, or Bill Cosby. Being married for 27 years, well, not everyone makes it this far. Doesn’t make me better or worse (yes, I know some of you are SURE it makes me “worse”), it is just part of what makes me, well, me. Or, more correctly, we.
The Wife has kept at this for 27 years, too, of course. Please don’t hold it against her, everyone has their flaws. And anyone looking for a love song, fairy tale, or romance novel can slip out the back door now. We’re discussing real love not romance. And real love bruises as much as it blesses. Rough times included issues of money, anger, religion (in the same religion!), child-rearing, and possible pre-meditated murder (I suspect she’s spent years paying my life insurance while trying to kill me with mountains of pasta).
So, how are we still together?
Good question. So much of our marriage makes little sense, is bad business, or seems to throw caution to the wind. We are so different: The Wife is quiet, and settled in her ways, and confident in her decisions, and does not like to argue. I am often loud, and often unsettled (I rewrite my non-fiction life at least as much as I do my fiction), and am confident in my decisions … until I decide my decisions are wrong and present a new set of decisions. And I love to argue. Arguing is a family past time, an ethnic legacy, a geographical imperative (we come from The Bronx). And so, I love to argue.
But she does not. And she grew up in The Bronx too. So maybe it wasn’t that. And her ethnicity is known to argue, but she doesn’t. So maybe it wasn’t that, to be honest. And her family didn’t need to pass the time arguing, so maybe that wasn’t so key, either.
Maybe it was me.
I am loud and argumentative (and love it), and yet she stayed with me. For 27 years. Maybe she has been nuts all this time
Except, she believed in me.
What a revelation that was. She believed in me despite my near infinite flaws. She wanted me to write. And she read me. For years. Before I knew what good looked like. Before Elmore Leonard. Before Walter Mosley. Before Richard Price, and before so many more. And she quietly, calmly, sweetly, and with a ridiculously seductive voice, kept urging me to keep writing. And reading. And spending time on my dream. Our dream. She believed in it, too. Holy sh#%! She believed in me!
Sounds kind of one-sided, I know. What does she get out of the deal? A performance for one, to start. Every joke, observation, epiphany, story idea, political concern, moral outrage, I say them to her first. And I know that can overwhelm, but over the last couple of years, I learned to even shut up once in awhile and give her some space. And channel my passions (which look a lot like anger, I’ve been told), and focus my energies (which look a lot like anger, I’ve been told), and not get lost in thought (which looks a lot like anger, I’ve been told). All of it has improved the writing. Publishers aren’t pounding down the door, and I haven’t hit best seller status, but my work has earned a few accolades, and people have begun saying nice things, and she was there before any of them.
That’s why I write. And breathe. And live.
You see, it’s about a girl. Always has been.
Even after 27 years. Even after having to figure out money together. And kids. And each other (still working on all of these, lol). And how to write. And how to publish. And how to promote (still learning all of these, especially that last one). We’ve learned together, grown together, created everything together. I suspect she does it as an act of
mercy. I know I do it for her. This has all been an elaborate scheme to woo her.
You see, it’s all about a girl. Always has been. And always will be.
Twenty-seven years. It’s a real fine start….