When I first saw this pop up on the new write ups list I thought to myself that maybe this was some kinda invitation to single noders looking to get hitched here at E2. A short while later, before reading the node itself I thought to myself, “Oh God, I’ve been down that route twice before, who in their right mind would want to risk a third?”
But last night, after a few beers and some moments of introspection I got to thinking about institute of marriage and what it entails from each person entering into what is supposed to be a lifelong partnership. I fondly recalled my first marriage so many years ago when my hopes were still high and the mystery of love was in the air.
I recall my wedding reception where me and my beloved bride danced to the strains of Dan Fogelberg’s tune called “Longer” and gazed into each other's eyes as the rest of the world lay at our doorstep just waiting for us to make our arrival known.
Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean
Higher than any bird ever flew
Longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens
I’ve been in love with you.
Stronger than any mountain cathedral
Truer than any tree ever grew
Deeper than any forest primeval
I am in love with you.
I won’t bore you with the rest.
The truth of the matter is that my bride at the time was already knocked up. I managed to accomplish that while I was home on leave from the Marine Corps and the news was broken to me a few months later when I was three thousand miles away floating around in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic on maneuvers.
I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that my first impulse was to throw myself overboard. After all, I was only twenty one and she was seventeen and just out of high school. Fortunately calmer heads prevailed and a since a do the right thing attitude was instilled in me, we got married in one of those huge Irish ceremonies where all manner of friends and family are invited and the drinking and dancing flow freely.
Unfortunately, due to my childish and immature behavior, we never had a chance.
Flash forward a few years…
By that time, I had left the skyscrapers and grey of NYC for the greener pastures of Columbus, Ohio. It was there where I thought I found the love of my life, my soul mate, the one who would finally “complete” me.
We were married in a small backyard ceremony. One of the local judges performed the nuptials as my bride's father sang hymns solo while a cellist performed. Our reception was held in the Columbus Metropolitan Museum of Art and all manner of friends from near and far were invited to attend. We ushered in our marriage to Van Morrison and his version of “Have I Told You Lately.”
Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there’s no one above you
Fill my heart with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles, that’s what you do
Oh the morning sun in all its glory
Greets the day with hope and comfort too
And you fill my life with laughter
You can make it better
Ease my troubles that’s what you do
We honeymooned in Barbados.
Call it a harbinger of things to come but I should’ve known things were bound to fall apart. See, prior to our leaving we had booked a hotel right near the airport so we could make our getaway with the least amount of hassle. Our reception and the party that followed afterwards caused us to arrive back at the hotel somewhere around 2:00 AM. One of our friends was kind enough to take our luggage there earlier in the day so we had no qualms about getting there.
Apparently though, the hotel did. They found themselves overbooked and had given our room away after we had exceeded the check in time. They gave us back our luggage and our first night as man and wife was spent in the airport lobby. Not quite what you would call romantic but we’d later laugh about it.
Even after our divorce.
You’d think that after all of this, that after my two failed attempts at marital bliss that I’d be sour on the whole concept. Au contraire and here’s why.
Divorces, by their very nature are painful. Emotions run high about such things as who gets the house, who gets the kids, who pays what bills and maybe most importantly, who gets to keep which friends. Details such as splitting time over Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and other special occasions are haggled over and are given more attention than that of a moon launch.
Time is mapped out and charted as if it could be measured as some kind of commodity. In the end, neither side is completely happy. In the end, what works best is compromise.
I look at it this way. I’ve been lucky enough to be married to two wonderful women. What they got in return was probably a not so wonderful man. Between the three of us, we’ve born four wonderful kids.
Who knows? Maybe the third time’s a charm? Maybe there’s somebody still out there looking for somebody else who’s got a plane load of luggage and a few scars on their back.
If there is, I’ve already got my song picked out. It’s by Tom Waits, a man with some luggage and some scars of his own. It’s called “Little Trip To Heaven (On The Wings of Your Love).
Lazy trip to heaven on the wings of your love
Banana moon is shining in the sky,
Feel like I'm in heaven when you're with me
Know that I'm in heaven when you smile,
Though we're stuck here on the ground,
I got something that I've found
And it's you.
And I don't have to take no trip to outer space
All I have to do is look at your face,
And before I know it, I'm in orbit around you
Thanking my lucky stars that I've found you,
When I see your constellation,
honey, you're my inspiration,
and it's you
There’s more but this is getting kinda long.
What can I say? At heart, I’m a true romantic.
I’ll close with this.
Over the ensuing years, the bitterness and acrimony that ate at all of us has dissolved. At first, they were slowly replaced by what I like to call a fragile friendship and later, by a more meaningful one.
So is it possible to say thank you to a couple of your ex’s? I mean, I know I’ll never lie beside either one of them again as we once did. I’ll never wake up to their smells or their touch or share in their laughter the way we used to. These days, those moments are reserved for someone else.
I may have lost some lovers along the way but in the process, I’ve gained some friends.
I guess that ain’t too bad.