Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You Better, You Bet

This is my very favorite day of the year. This is bigger and better than Christmas or Twofer Tuesday at Trolls R Us. It's better than my children's birthdays (combined or separate) or even that of my wife-basically, because none of those would resonate without some, part or all of today, which is our wedding anniversary.

My wife, Sigrid, and I married thirty-two years ago, today-at twenty after ten in the morning (a Friday as I recall) in the Offenbach am Main Rathaus, when we tied the knot and signed on the line (there really is a line on the heiratsurkunde). I grin every time I think about that day and my grin grows so wide I find it a wonder that the entire top of my head doesn't just fall off into my lap. Except for the improvement, I doubt anyone would notice the difference.

I'm sorry to bend your eyes with my meanderings down memory lane, but as much and as often as I lose track of events and people from my past, it's amazing that my memories of this day are crisp and bright. How many of them actually happened is sometimes a point of contention in my house, and that's part of the journey, too. Another part is my annual bad joke, this year where I say 'Sigrid says it feels a lot longer than thirty-two years of marriage, but that's because the German use the metric system.' And then I pause and hope for her roll of the eyes and wan smile.

I would hope you, too, have already, or will soon, meet that someone whose very being is enough to reassure you that you're finally home. The person around whom you don't need to hold your breath. Who, no matter what you do, still loves you for who you are, even if you sometimes don't act like that guy for really LONG periods of time.

I have twenty billion reasons for why I am in love with this Offenbach madel--and no idea how she could possibly love or be in love with an arrogant, ignorant, loud-mouth stumblebunny like me. But she is and I've stopped wondering why and finally accepted that love is something you can only give, but never earn. Sigrid tries so hard to make this marriage of ours, but really hers (mostly), work and all I do is show up for meals (and I often don't do that on time or properly dressed). In the end, if I were honest, I'd admit, "I'm not into your passport picture. I just like your nose."

Had she stopped to wonder about how literally she might have to live the 'for better or for worse; for richer and for poorer' parts of the ritual, she might have asked for a lifeline or to phone a friend. Oder ein pause einlegen. Today is typical of her sacrifice as I do what must be done. I give my time to (nearly total) strangers' on a variety of projects that have various amounts of meaning to me, mostly in terms of where we now live and she will say not a word as to my choice.

Sigrid and I will celebrate our anniversary tomorrow night, at an Indian food restaurant we both know (not in Norwich) that reminds us of a place we used to frequent in Frankfurt am Main in what seems like another life (because it was). It was the first place I ever took her to eat when we started dating and I only knew about it because my buddy (and future best man) Chris H. had shown me how to ride the U3 from Adickesallee to get there two weeks earlier. Best fahrschein I ever bought. She ordered the chicken curry and I had the lamb vindaloo. We both enjoyed the nan and thought the mango chutney was marvelous. It still is. Happy Anniversary, Angel Eyes.

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