Until death do us part…

When I was young, I always imagined to one day own a house sitting on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Listening to the waves every waking hour, opening the windows whenever I wanted to feel and smell the ocean breeze. I was ten when this idea first entered my mind and after nearly two decades, this is still the picture I paint inside my mind when someone asks me about where I see myself in the future. A future, that somehow doesn’t seem that far anymore. Somehow in these past two decades I finally made it to the place I never knew existed. I finally got my house sitting on a cliff, while the ocean was serenading me…

My cliff-view

Typically, the story would end here. Girl got a happy ending. What more could I ask for?! Nothing, really, absolutely nothing. But real life isn’t like that, you don’t just get a happy ending and that’s it. In adulthood, a happy ending is usually preceded (and sometimes also followed) by a streak of many unhappy chapters, slight ups, some dangerous situations and maybe one or two good night’s sleeps. That’s what life is about and that’s why “until death do you part” is not the ending of an era but rather the actual beginning of something with great potential. Notice, not destined for greatness but having great potential (there is a difference!).

Nine years ago I put on my grey jeans skirt, a red shirt and my chucks and made my way to an old abandoned ballroom hall with questionable flooring in an old amusement park. As soon as the band started playing the first few beats, I knew it was going to be a magical night and little did I know that this night was going to be the beginning of something grand. I remember it like it was yesterday, there was A walking past me and it took me a split second to build up the courage to ask him to dance with me. He looked at me with his piercing blue eyes, smiled and said that he couldn’t do this next dance but the following. And then he went on his way, didn’t ask my name, didn’t ask where to meet or anything else. He just disappeared in the crowd. All I remember was his red shirt.

About fifteen minutes later (because contra songs go on forever), I came back to find A waiting for me. Contra dances usually happen in large crowds. Typically, two lanes are formed and an announcer would call the moves. So with little practice, and a little hand-eye-coordination you can quickly figure out where to go, how to move and how to make sure that you’re on beat (it’s a great workout!). Once you know the basics, you could freestyle the in-betweens, unless you have some rigid people in your formation that don’t appreciate the freestyling. I, on the other hand, welcome it… Anyways, the next song was about to start and we quickly got into our contra formation. A didn’t ask me a single question, he didn’t say anything, all we did was dance and for some odd reason he went along with every freestyling move without once missing our contra-moves… And the rest is history, as they say.

Nine years on, A and I still freestyle our way through life. We find ourselves in the craziest places… This time we found ourselves in Howth in Ireland and walked up and down the beach all day, watched the tide come in and go out, spotted seals floating around, looked for shells and overall just really appreciated the quaint little town of Howth about thirty minutes from Dublin’s city center. We made big plans for the coming year and I (sadly) watched A’s health deteriorate as he fell (as he said) deadly ill (a cough! He got a cough, not even half as bad as I did in Brisbane, but being A, of course he was nearing his death-bed). And while he was being miserable and making sure everyone around him was at least as miserable as he was, I remembered our wedding day…

We actually didn’t vow to stay together until death do us part. We didn’t vow to stay together in good times and in bad, through health and sickness and all the good stuff. All we vowed was to love each other like olive oil and lemon juice, the perfect recipe. And that’s just it, really. Marriage is the perfect recipe, if you use all the wrong ingredients, no matter how closely you follow the instructions, it will not taste good (as my cooking skills have demonstrated plenty of times). But with the right ingredients, love, patience, devotion, communication, time management and overall compassion, you will create the greatest feast out of the simplest ingredients. That’s what marriage is about, finding the balance that make your sweet freestyling moves perfect.

Until death do us part…

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