|18 yrs ago--with a weird shadow behind our heads.|
For a while, I called him my Chicago Guy. Technically, though, he's my New Jersey Guy. Born and bred, baptized by Springsteen. But he has the heart and soul of Chicago. He has its big shoulders, beautiful parks, the cool and calm of its great lake and the tenderness of Lincoln Park's polar bears (oh, but how they roar). He does not have any of its corruption.
Twenty-one years ago I got to know him in Chicago. For nearly a year, back and forth, Logan to O'Hare, O'Hare to Logan. Our life together began along that corridor and from there extended itself far and wide. It is from Chicago and its surrounding Midwest areas, where he traveled, that his twenty-five year old self wrote long rambling letters in which he noted on "unused pieces of legal stationary about to be fulfilled..." things like this:
"As I put pen to this paper I'm driving I-94 to Detroit--literally. My current problem would seem to be navigational by nature as it's damn difficult to hold a Mitsubishi on the road while steering with your knees. Just imagine how Captain Kirk would have felt if every time he launched into 'Captain's Log stardate 9312.23...' he had to worry about the Klingon hanging out in the breakdown lane. In fact, now that I think about it, that's probably just about the only reason they had that scrawny little Chekov guy on the show--so he could steer while Kirk stardated up a storm."
Not to mention, a bit... reckless?
(It would seem that writing while driving is not a modern phenomenon. Texting, at least, condenses the correspondence. Not that I condone it!)
Today, we've been married eighteen years. Before I met Michael marriage was something I avoided with all the criminal ingenuity I could sum. I would sabotage advances and plot escapes. I was a cat burglar--slipping in and out of hearts, taking what I needed and hightailing out of the affair, almost, almost, unnoticed--until my husband walked me down that straight but not too narrow path. Much like one of his favorite movies, The Quiet Man, he is Sean to my Mary Kate, balancing the downward force with the upward. He first appeared in my life when things were a little shaky, we went for a long walk along the Charles and he took me by the hand, a blade of grass in his mouth, and said, Slow down, you will get there.
I've never written about my husband, and probably won't again. He's a quiet and very private person, and probably wouldn't like it if I said much. Eighteen years is a long time. It's a long time of this and that and give and take and figuring it out together. I'm grateful for his Sean to my Mary Kate.
So, in lieu of telling more, I offer this gem of a video, a gift of love and literature to all: Litany (click for text), by another kind of thief, Billy Collins, who can ply more words from a literary device than I can from my husband:
So, did I get there? I don't know. But I feel like I know where I'm going. And I've learned to slow down. A little.
I wouldn't at all mind going back to Chicago. Soon. With my husband.
(And if you think this entry is a ploy to get him to read my blog, you are correct.)