Sunday, August 16, 2009

Like a marriage

Sixteen years is like a marriage, my friend said. What makes anything "like a marriage"? Time, intimacy, knowing?  Me and Doug -- 16 years, never really apart.  Ties can stretch thin, but they never break. Friend says it's like separating but not signing the papers -- you're never really apart. He was my man, my heartbeat, my every waking thought.

Sixteen years and never really apart.  I feel such clarity being able to look at the whole of something. Dougie, DEW, Doug-man -- it's like a death. How can this cornerstone of life suddenly not be the cornerstone of this life?  

The physics of separating are what I'm after. The changes in brain chemistry that have to take place to remove a consideration of 16 years.

And love. The alchemy of love -- I think it occurs in our bodies and it's what our bodies endure when the chemistry suddenly changes. Anger is easier to deal with than the slow, physical withdrawal from another person. Anger is the methadone of ending a marriage.

Withdrawal. Emma Thompson said ending her marriage was like having to break the fingers, one at a time, that were holding on. It's not even a choice to hold on -- we have to remind our bodies to let go, to retrain the reflex.

Sixteen years is like a marriage -- for sixteen years, he was my every thought. He is not now my every thought, but many, still, maybe always. Love does not shift the way we'd like it to. Anger is the false confidence, the powdery courage of the relationship bathroom. But there's always a crash -- not even the most unconscious can lie to themselves in those last few seconds before sleep. Truth comes in like the 5:34, dougdougdougdoug. Anger ends and you're left with what you know, that love is not an ever fixed mark.

This is the deal we make: We will always outlive it. 

Sixteen years is like a marriage: The pub in Bath, my hand on your knee, your hand on mine, looking out different windows.

Sixteen years: It was exquisite.

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