Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Monday, July 30, 2007

Twice Upon a Time

Today -- well, technically yesterday, now -- is our second anniversary. Two years ago today, Ed and I got married in the tiny chapel next to the University of Windsor campus, the same place my own parents were married in 1969. When we describe our wedding, we tend to say that we eloped. While this is not completely technically true, as our immediate families were present and there was a pseudo-reception at a nearby restaurant, our wedding was certainly much, much smaller than any other I've attended. The total number of people present, including us and the officiator, was 36. This number is only as high as it it because Ed is the youngest of 8 siblings.

Saying that we eloped also feels right because it gets across exactly how quickly the while thing came together. We got engaged in the middle of May, and were married 2 1/2 months later in Ontario. In that time, we had to plan the wedding long distance, go to marriage prep and take care of all the paperwork, and keep the whole thing a secret. We wanted something small, and we knew our families. Loving and well-meaning, the entire thing could have exploded into a weddingstravaganza. So we went through 2 months of covert planning, showed up in Ontario, then called everyone to say we were getting married, and if they wanted to come, they'd better show up at this place and time in a week.

So, in spirit if not in fact, Ed and I eloped two years ago. To celebrate, I made us blinchiki for breakfast, then went to work for 6 hellish hours. I came home and promptly made myself a lethal bourbon and coke with lime to take some of the pain away. Buzzing, we showed up at the restaurant an hour and a half early because we were hungry and it's, like, right there up the hill. They were very nice and sat us anyway. We had prosecco, because every celebration needs some bubbles. The meal was very good, and dessert was very good, and the 30-year Portugese port was excellent.

We got home and our apartment was the temperature of a furnace. Both cats were spread-eagled n the linoleum in the kitchen, complaining. The combination of the heat, of of red meat in my belly, the motherfucking period that will never end, and the fact that I'd made myself good and drunk by then, conspired to make me fall completely asleep almost instantly. At 8:30pm. When we were supposed to go see Die Hard: Dying the Hardest. I woke up at 11:30pm and Ed was reading Harry Potter on the couch, and I felt like a shit. So we snuggled and checked our email on the borrowed laptop, and went to bed a little after midnight. In other words, or anniversary celebrations were rather low-key.

Despite the quiet and my narcolepsy, I have a lot to celebrate. Ed is my favourite person in the world. And, miraculously, he is still at my side. The first year of our marriage was very dark time for me. During that year, I made myself ill trying to finish my coursework, teach classes, run a magazine, apply for my PhD, and finish my thesis in the same year. It was impossible, but I drove myself crazy trying. I was inconsolably upset a lot of the time when I was around Ed. I could hold my shit together in public, but once it was just the two of us I would implode. I couldn't always articulate the real reason that I was upset, that the idea of not finishing my thesis on time and all the rest was killing me and was psychologically tormenting me on a minute by minute basis, keeping me form falling asleep at night. Often, I was just upset, and I couldn't tell him why, and he'd get frustrated, which would make me more upset. Deeply buried neuroses made their appearances. On one memorable occasion, crockery was thrown.
The first year of our marriage was difficult. It's hard, even painful to admit, but I have made my peace with it. We did not have a honeymoon year; we had a challenge.

The second year, I am thrilled to report, has been unbelievably, inexpressibly better. Last September, when I finally had to turn down PhD offers and associated funding, I realized I could either have a breakdown or slow the fuck down, take my time, and just finish the thing when I finished. I developed a work schedule that was sane. Ed left the job that was making him miserable, and really blossomed in a more positive environment. We picked apart some of our insecurities. We learned to spend time apart. Ed and I often have to travel separately because of different commitments and vast differences in vacation time, and we learned to do this. We learned to be supportive of each other and still remain independent. This year, we've grown into two people who are actually better for each other than we were when we met.

Standing at the beginning of our third year as a married couple, it's already shaping up to be a doozy. My book is coming out, and I'll be going on the Great Canadian Literary Disaster of 2007 that will be the tour. I'll be reapplying to the PhD program. I am the Managing Editor of filling Station now, which is going to be crazy. Ed had some potential, and significant, career changes coming up. There's going to be a lot of travelling and working and general craziness. To cap off our third year, we'll finally be going on the honeymoon that has so far been out of reach. By then, by some miracle, we may even be better for each other than we are now. I can't imagine it yet, but if anyone can do it, we can.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 2:25 AM!!