When we finally got to our Jamaican honeymoon suite I laid down on the bed exhausted. And slightly disappointed. Where were the plush mattresses and amazing outdoor patio sets that Sandals promised in their brochures?
Mark, however, got busy unpacking. Unpacking in a way I have never done on vacations. Where I had planned on living out of my suitcase for the week, Mark was hanging things up in closets and folding clothes to put in drawers. Really? It had never ever occurred to me to actually use the closet or the drawers at any hotel I had ever stayed at.
Not wanting to look like a weirdo on our honeymoon I quickly joined him. I started folding things and hanging things. This must be how white people vacation, I mumbled to myself.
As we set up our nest, Mark paused, looked at me and said, “This feels like deja vu, I feel like I’ve done this before… And I’m scared.”
He had done this before. He had had a wedding. He had exchanged vows. He had eaten wedding cake. He had unpacked in a honeymoon suite with his new bride. He had done all of this many years before. And all of this had ended pretty horribly.
A part of my heart immediately became afraid. He was thinking about her? About them? On our honeymoon? I’d be lying if the question “What have I done?” didn’t creep into my head.
“This just feels so familiar,” he continued, “and I feel like I’m bracing myself for something bad to happen.”
I knew exactly what he was feeling. I had a bad accident on Una-Antioch Pike a few years ago and I can’t drive through that intersection without flinching even a little bit. Lots of bad memories and a scar on my hand remind me that this intersection is not safe.
Mark’s heart and soul took a pretty bad beating at the end of his first marriage and it would be stupid for either of us to think the first few years of our own marriage wouldn’t induce some flinching.
“It’s ok to be afraid,” I reassured him, “It’s just where you are right now.”
I guess that was a perk to being married to someone who was a newly graduated Master of Marriage and Family Therapy. My validation skills were on point.
I knew that eventually we’d move past the flinching stage. That soon the rest of our memories would belong only to us.
Last night we celebrated our 2nd anniversary with dinner and watched a video that we made on our 1st anniversary (we looked at our wedding cake and discussed how we might die if we tried to eat it, talked about McDonald’s, snuggies and our cats, and the best part was a fun fight about whether or not I’d still be “in love with Obama” next year… for the record, I am).
And nobody flinched.