Today is my 17th Anniversary, so oblige me whilst I wax romantic. If you read my last post, you know that I’ve been watching the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice and it seems to have invaded my every thought.
Oh, THAT’S what true love looks like, I’m thinking. See how Mr. Darcy steals glances at Elizabeth, how he wishes to watch ehr without being seen. Watch as he so befuddedly asks her to dance, even though he has told her, on their first meeting, that he doesn’t dance “if I can help it.” Then, listen as he tells her she has “bewitched me body and soul.” Ohhhh.
And I start to do what comes next, “why aren’t WE like that.” You knew that was coming, right? Yeah, me too. I’m pretty predictable. But in a quiet moment last evening, I began to think back. I had been on the phone with a friend, earlier, who has been married almost the same amount of time that I have. She is still married, and, by all accounts, most happily. But she laughed and said her husband usually looks at her and says “remember back when you used to love me?” It’s a joke within the walls of her marriage and we have something similar here.
And in thinking back on it, on my husband’s and my first meeting, how I walked into his house on the arms of mutual friends, having just moved to Arizona from California with all my worldly possessions stuffed in the back of my 1984 Honda Civic hatchback. I didn’t walk into that house looking for Mr. Darcy that evening. In fact, I thought I already had a Mr. Darcy in my life back in California, a brooding love interest who could not return my affection until I quit my job and announced my impending move to another state.
But, back to the story of the current and always Mr. Darcy. I wasn’t looking for him, but there he was. It was, in fact, an apartment full of available men unaccustomed to single women walking into their “cave.” But walk I did, grabbing a beverage in the kitchen and meeting a few people in there, and I glanced up and caught the eye of a guy in the other room, and he looked back at me, and I had to look away. There it was. What I’d never felt before and what I suppose I had always hoped for: that jolt of recognition, that immediate co-mingling of thrill and comfort at the exact same time: ah, it’s You.
And it was. It was not an immediate relationship even if it was an immediate recognition. There were things to sort out back in California; there were things to sort out within.
It is that moment that I go back to, often, when I’m in the doldrums of the long haul. Why can’t it be more romantic between us? Why do we make it so difficult, at times, to love one another still and always. “Remember when you used to love me?” But there it is, that Darcy and Elizabeth moment. It snaps me back, even now, as he looks at our credit card account and grills me about the charges. It snaps me back, that moment of recognition in a glance between rooms that led to that moment 17 years ago when we made vows we have kept and intend to keep always.
It is not rational. It is not scientific. It is not even entirely romantic, but it is the story I have to share on this, my 17th anniversary.