Last week my husband left for a nine day business trip in China.
However you want to pronounce it, all I know is this: It’s the longest — in both miles and minutes — we’ve been apart in about 27 years.
In our defense, we’re not big travelers.
Or live exciting lives.
But really, when my husband travels for work he’s gone four nights tops, and he hates being away that long. And as you YMFT readers know, I typically spend my days trolling social media &/or the aisles at Target, working PT retail, and napping, so I’m always around … and have been every day of the (almost) 24 years we’ve been married.
Not only don’t we live exciting lives, we don’t live exciting lives apart from each other, and vomit all you want, but that’s the way we like it … and have for 27 years.
When we started dating — I was 19, BTW … NINETEEN — we instantly fell into this groove of being each other’s other half, almost like it was out of our control.
Listen, I’m not saying it was love at first sight. It wasn’t.
I mean, at least for me.
(For him I’m certain it totally was. And don’t let him tell you otherwise.)
What it was was an almost instant feeling of completeness, I guess.
And by instant I mean an entire year after the first time we dated briefly. You know, the time he was an ass and I despised him and spit every time his name was mentioned for the next ten months. Nevermind, we’ll save that fun story for another time.
But other than the time I went on Spring Break to Lake Havasu and spent a week on a houseboat with like eight other girls and guys without him (the trip had been planned before we started seriously dating, which was about an hour after our first date, year two) I can’t remember a stretch of more than five or six days we’ve spent apart (I also can’t remember much about the Spring Break trip in Lake Havasu, because Spring Break trip).
It’s simple. We like each other.
And have for over 28 years.
Thank God, because clearly not a lot of other people do. No lie, we don’t have many people who call us up to invite us out … or in. Have we maybe perpetrated that over the years by radiating an inclusive vibe, one that screams leave us alone we just like to hang out with each other, in sweats, on our couch? I’m sure of it.
But here’s the thing.
We don’t really care. Why? Because we like to hang out with each other, in sweats, on our couch.
I’m sure there are some of you who are judging me (us) right now. “It’s unhealthy to spend so much time together,” I can hear you thinking, which, if you’ve read any of the above words, completely contradicts that thought, but whatever. In fact, I feel supremely fortunate to have a husband I want to spend time with, and more importantly, who wants to spend time with me. Do we get on each other’s nerves occasionally? Absolutely. I mean, the man could live forever without cleaning his side of the bathroom and thinks using laundry tubs as his dresser drawers is perfectly acceptable. As for his gripes about me? I’m sure he’d put “likes a clean bathroom and thinks dresser drawers are for folded clothing” at the top of his list. But the list of little things is just that, and seem to always be forgotten as easily as the fact that beer bottles go in the recycle bin in the cabinet located directly under the counter the bottle is always left sitting on.
Fine, add “a slight propensity for passive aggressiveness” to his list.
A few weeks ago I overheard a woman complaining to her friend about how awful life was soon going to be because her husband was retiring and would be around 24/7. “Get a job!” her friend cried. “That way you won’t have to be around him so much!” “Oh, believe me,” she said. “I’ve thought about it.”
You guys, I can’t wait for my husband to retire one day so we can hang out together. Several years ago he worked from home for about eight months, and we were able to experience a small slice of what it would be like. I have to say, I kind of loved it. I loved hearing his important work voice on the phone saying things I couldn’t understand but that impressed the hell out of me. I loved it when we sat next to each other out on the deck having a cup of coffee in the mornings, each of us immersed in our own screens. I loved it when he’d take a break to go on a Target run with me even though I knew it was probably the allure of the fresh popcorn that got him there much more than spending time watching me wander aimlessly around for an hour. I loved that he never once judged me for taking a nap.
I just talked to him in China. Shanghai was amazing, he’s looking forward to seeing the Great Wall when he’s in Beijing, but it’s been five days and he’s ready to come home. “I just miss you,” he said.
I already have his comfiest pair of sweats ready.
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