music friday: sector 27, “where can we go tonight”
20 years ago today

our 39th anniversary

Every year I post a little something on our anniversary. I’ll throw in a picture or two, talk about what movie we’re going to see, show a video (“In Spite of Ourselves” by John Prine with Iris DeMent is a favorite), or simply offer up the song lyrics I read at our wedding (“I Scare Myself” by Dan Hicks).

This year, I’m still thinking about something my brother said a couple of weeks ago. I don’t remember the exact words … my memory is already changing them and fitting them into something short and sweet … but the general idea was that I was a very lucky guy for finding Robin.

(I have to confess, she found me. She says she had a crush on me for a year before I even knew who she was. In the fall of 1968, when I was a junior in high school and she was a sophomore, she was one of my makeup girls for a play … can’t remember which one. I was in the midst of a brief, never-really-happened fling with her best friend, and at the cast party, the friend dumped me, I saw Robin, and it was kinda like that sappy moment when Tony and Maria first see each other in West Side Story. We kissed … it was September 28, 1968, I was 15, she was 14, turned 15 six days later.)

I know, it’s pretty standard for partners to say “I’m lucky I have you”, and I’m pleased to know that Robin would say that about me. But really, even adjusting for my general lack of self-esteem, it’s pretty clear which one of us is the luckier one. You don’t last 39 years without learning to put up with the quirks of your partner, but all I have to put up with is her knitting. She has to put up with the bipolar behavior of a misanthropic solipsist who is generally too self-absorbed to pay attention to anything outside my own brain. Yet she does put up with me. And I am really lucky she does, because without her, I’m doomed.

Do we still love each other after all these years? We sure do. I can only speak for myself, but that love isn’t the same as it was when we were high-school sweethearts. Being in love hurt when we were young … not just during the bad times, even the good times always threatened to overwhelm my emotions. And Robin spent most of the time back then crying, and I never knew why, but she often acted like it was a good thing. Now, love doesn’t usually hurt, good or bad, and Robin doesn’t cry much. Once in awhile I miss that hurt. But what has replaced the hurt is pretty cool, too. Knowing that someone has your back, that someone knows all your secrets and doesn’t reject you, well, I am lucky, indeed. Happy anniversary, Robin Robin Smith!

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