The day marriage equality was approved by voters in Washington State, my wife and I were watching the returns online. She was lying in bed, recovering from surgery. I kept calling out numbers, and crying. It was 2012, when I still thought Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were the worst things that could happen to America. O nostalgia.
Mary got an infection from that surgery. And hefty medical bills. And no physical relief.
Fast forward four and a half years. Her symptoms have returned with all their friends to kick the fuck out of her uterus.
Can I tell you a love story?
I know this sounds like a medical drama, but that’s only because you don’t know that she fell asleep in her sundress last night. One arm cast over her head; the moon blurred in the sky outside our opened bedroom window. The dogs tucked around her. Crickets cricketing.
That I stood and watched her and was grateful. Not for illness. Not for health. Not for struggle or politics or addiction. Not for money. Not for the seven years I have stood and watched her sleep. My beautiful girl. I was grateful because this is it. To be with your person and love. This is the whole endeavor of marriage.
We can complicate it with millions of layers, but this is it. I got to marry my person and love her. And my whole life, I will feel blessed by that fact. The fact of her. The fact of our marriage. The fact of this body that I worship.
If you are a woman who has been to a doctor with a complaint, you already know that we are mysterious. We are unknown. We are misdiagnosed.
And we are powerful as fuck.
Could I live in a house with this woman and not already know that power, mysterious and solemn as it is?
I can feel it, always, drawing me toward her.
What I love best about my wife is that she is the woman. The Woman. I have built an entire life around this love.
She returns to the doctor again today. And all the tumult she feels is near enough that I can hear it breathing.
I’ll bike home in the afternoon, and we’ll have dinner at a small Mexican place near our house. And she’ll tell me stories. Just like always. And I’ll be tethered to her. Like two girls at the ends of a jump rope. “Come on,” we’ll say. “Come on! Jump, motherfucker.”
Or maybe the tether is a boat docked.
Or a kite straining into the sky.
A climber lifting, lifting.
It doesn’t matter. Do you see? It doesn’t matter how we are bound to one another. We are bound to one another. And that is the fortune.