We met in a bar in Florida on Winter break 2004. . .
He looked 15, just out of the Marine Corps, hanging out in a place known as Wild Willy's looking for what 22 year old Marines look for while in bars. I was with my aunt and drinking diet coke with lime before I knew better than to drink anything with aspartame.
Some older man caught my hand and said, "Hey, my buddy wants to dance with you," and he pushed me over to John. Still, I was hardly buying what he was selling. Not that night or any other in the near future, actually.
Now, 11 years later, the 23rd marks our 9th Wedding Anniversary.
What he was entangling himself in back then, he had no idea. Way back in that bar, he thought. . ."well, I like how she wears those boots."
What he found was I was easier to look at than to live with. . .a life long pessimist and quite remarkably under enthused about everything.
Less than 3 months after we married, he managed to stand outside a burning building with me on a rainy January night when my brothers and sister were inside, and we were too late. While the person he married survived the night, the person he knew me to be for two years prior did not. And in those days, months and years following, though I was shattered and inconsolable and pushed him far, far away because to love anything beyond what I'd lost was more than I could find within myself to do, he managed the impossible: to be happy, devoted to me without question and positive always. He continued in the same fashion with each following event that would have tempted most anyone to cry uncle, frankly.
And little time goes by where someone doesn't remark to me how very loved by him I am. . .
I know most folks write these sappy posts about how they love the other person, but it seemed far more fair to validate how much he has always loved me. . .even when that had to be the very hardest thing to do. . .
The very hardest.
“It’s one thing to fall in love. It’s another to feel someone else fall in love with you, and to feel a responsibility toward that love.”
––Every Day by David Levithan
And wait! The most important elements remain to be spoken -
He has only rarely told me, "No, Tinia. We must not buy another goat," and he has always agreed to one more cow, so there is that, too.
And that man who said he was John's buddy. . .the best part of the tale is John did not know that fellow. He never saw him again.
Wonders never cease.
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens
- Proverbs 27:23-27