Life is made up of bits and pieces of fleeting events and feelings. The parts we remember the best aren’t necessarily the big event so much as the little things that got us there. So even though a married girl might focus on the wedding day memories on Valentine’s Day, I’m going to tell you seven early relationship memories that have nothing to do with our wedding day.
1.) It was 5:03 AM. Her body was frigid as she lay next to him on the bed. Only a large pillow filled the space between them, and she felt a bit impressed with his ability to sleep perfectly sound next to a girl he barely knew. Despite the awkward situation, she managed to find him a bit charming. His black hair was in a mess and he had a calm look to his face. She tried to sort out her feelings for him as she buried back into the sheets and prepared herself for a sleepless night.
2.) You know you’re with someone special when they can make you forget the pain, forget where you are or remind you that life is more than just a constant struggle. They were young and they could stay up until 3 AM every night. She felt something starting between them as they drove through the starry night. They would drive often. Drive far, to close paces, drive anywhere as long as they were together.
3.) One of the greatest things she admired about him was his skill with the piano. His fingers would fly across the keys and a beautiful and rich sound would fill the room. She would lay against a pillow on the couch as he played her an endless concert of songs. The one she loved the most was called “Wind Crest.” And on the day he had to leave, she heard that song repeating itself through her mind, filling her thoughts with his smile, and she could feel the saddest pain in her heart.
4.) She was back in school. He was thousand of miles away. They would talk on the phone randomly, whenever they could find the time. But the phone and internet connections were terrible and they both knew the relationship would fail if it were long term. There was a week he was so annoyed that he wouldn’t talk to her for a week. He would pick up the phone, but be silent for hours as she waited with a sinking heart.
5.) It was the greatest feeling in the world. Flying high above the clouds, seeing the rice paddies below in the sunrise through the thick air. She knew in only an hour’s time, she’d be with him again. It was the feeling of life. Hard to explain, but it’s the difference between just living because you exist and living because you can feel life within every aspect of your body, soul and mind.
6.) It’s one of those things you just can’t think about. She got on the motorcycle and held on as tight as she could. The wind flying through her hair felt like freedom. For the first few times, she feared death and accidents, but by the end of the first week, she was riding sitting sideways in a miniskirt, only barely holding onto the back of his shirt as they flew down the highway to the Night Safari. She felt like one of the local girls and it was great to fit in his country.
7.) The whole concept of the holiday was strange to her. Throwing water at people seemed almost rude. But her main problem was her skin. During her three months in his country, she’d developed acne, and if she was going to have water thrown in her face all day, how could she compete with the other girls out on the street who had perfect skin? They fought about it because she did not want to get her face wet. She couldn’t understand why he’d want to be with a girl like her, when there were plenty of beautiful women in his country. Why her?
Those were before we got married. Of course after we were married, the struggle did not end, although immigration and being apart for long periods of time ended. We went through a lot of firsts together: buying a car, cleaning out mold, having a fly infestation, learning how to cook, going to Boston, doing taxes, moving three times, and many other ridiculous things.
But what makes it special is remembering why you liked each other in the first place.
And learning how to choose each other over and over again as you change.