Nice to see you again.
One of the many things I love about my husband is that he’s quick to chat people up. It’s one of the many ways that he, as he puts it, does what he wants. D is astoundingly uncensored. To know him is to know that he basically says things that most people think but never say out loud. It’s hilarious, heartwarming, infuriating, and sometimes socially awkward. But, whatever the feeling in the moment, it usually makes for a good story later on.
Which brings me to his one-liner of the week. In fact, I’m finding that almost all of my pieces have at least one of his one-liners. Maybe I should just write a husband version of “Sh*t My Dad Says.” Didn’t that start as a Twitter feed and end up with book franchise? Something like that...Yeah, definitely some potential there.
Anyway, we’re at the historic Hudson House River Inn restaurant in Cold Spring, having a little weekend getaway, and D is chatting up the shy young waiter.
“So, Max, what is there to do around here?...Oh wow – you live all the way in Brooklyn?! How long is that commute? Which trains do you take?”
He works his way down the Price Fixe menu, asking questions about several dishes down the line, until he gets to desserts.
“So, Max. Tell me about this tartine. What is it?"
“Somewhere between a tart and a pie.”
“Somewhere between a tart and a pie...Just like my wife!”
Poor Max. Thrown off guard, he obviously isn’t sure if it's okay to laugh. I instinctually bury my face in my palm and nodded, “Yup.”
D and I are celebrating our “Cottonversary”. Yes, I made up that word – in honor of the traditional two-year gift of cotton. Now, the traditional gift phenomenon continues to mystify me. No one really knows when or why it started, but it seems to be set no matter where (as in which internet site) you look. The whole thing just sounds made up – like holidays such as Grab Some Nuts Day, which just so happens to be August 3rd, in case you want to celebrate. To quote the website Holiday Insights (my go-to for random holiday trivia): “We found one or two references to this day as a ‘National’ day. This is clearly not a national day.”
But back to us. It’s apparently our Year of Cotton, and I have no idea why. Yet what do I do? I buy D some socks. I buy him socks that say, “I love an easy challenge.”
He opens them and says, “Eh...you’re just a challenge.”
I can’t help but feel a little disappointed by that. I mean, yes, I know I’m a challenge, but it doesn’t feel awesome to be called out on it. Luckily for me, D spins it positively in his typical fashion:
“If you were an easy challenge, you would have already been taken!”
That suits me.
And it’s true for both of us. We challenge each other, but we’re both up to this challenge very few would undertake. Why? Because we would choose each other again and again and again. We’re each other’s people.
I am in love with the idea that a partner brings out the best in you, but I’m grateful that it’s sometimes the worst. Because those are the things I want to work on, and, by accepting me and loving me for all that I am – including those things that can drive him crazy...
“Dennis, can you please pick up your rock climbing gear?”
“UGH...I heard you the first three times.”
“I know, but obviously I need to make it clearer, because it's still sitting in the middle of the floor.”
“I will! Would you just let me play golf [on the iPhone]? I gotta beat this guy!”
...my partner motivates me to work on them. For example, I’ve been working on letting things go for two years now. As much as he probably doesn’t see it, I have definitely improved in this area.
I recently came across this:
We bitch about our difficulties along the rough surface of our path, we curse every sharp stone underneath, until at some point in our maturation, we finally look down to see that they are diamonds.
How beautiful is that?!
I’m not quite in the fully-diamond state, at least not right away. I often arrive there later. It’s all part of the ongoing exploration....Somewhere between a tart and a pie.
Back at the Hudson House River Inn, the young and shy waiter Max eventually leaves with our drink orders. Maybe it's the historic charm of the inn, maybe it's the classically sweet cocktails, or maybe it's the soul-flattening heat, but, whatever it is, some kind of mystic spirit stirs my husband, who spends about half the dinner waxing poetic. Smooth, sweet words masterfully flow out of him like he's icing a cake with buttercream frosting.
I sit there in awe of this man who my heart somehow intuitively knew was my person even before my brain did. It was that heart that, after about two minutes of contemplation, said yes to him after only a two-month courtship.
I listen to him talk about me and about us, more in love with him than ever. In a rare beat of silence, I decide it's my turn. Unfortunately, my words take some time to find their groove.
He replies, “Without you, I would be less inspired, less joyful...and I wouldn’t sing as much.”
I reply, “Without you, I would be less positively challenged...and less entertained.”
I stumble through and around words that I hope are romantic enough to match his – and curse my brain for not holding up its end of the bargain. My shining moment is sharing that I'd always dreamed of someone loving me as he does. It's no Rumi or anything, but we can’t be Persian poets all the time.
As D put its, the weekend isn’t just an exploration of the Hudson Valley: it's an exploration of us. Just a dude and his wife. Somewhere between a tart and a pie. Sounds like a pretty great place to be.
Thanks for reading. And keep sharing your stories, because someone wants to hear them.