To back up, let me emphasize that I was married for the first time at the age of 39 and there are many reasons for this. First, I just didn’t meet anyone very interesting in my 20’s and that seems to be the ripe age for meeting potential spouses. When I was in my 20’s, I was an asshole. I wouldn’t have wanted to date me. Then in my early 30’s, I was still an asshole. I was selfish, headstrong, spoiled, and mean. Not prime dating material. When I was 37, I found out I had stomach cancer, survived, and subsequently found humility. I joke that having cancer was the best thing to ever happen to me but it’s not really a joke.
Our first date was on Valentine’s Day and we met at a bar across the street from a tattoo parlor where she had just had a couple of hours work performed on her back. Jessica had a tombstone done with the dates of her first marriage engraved on it. I liked her style. We had a few cocktails and shared a nice evening of witty banter and flirtation. I wore a cardigan sweater over a t-shirt, for which she still makes fun of me, but I was going for Kurt Cobain Unplugged. She didn’t feel my vibe but I must have done something right because we had a second date. Then after that, there was a lull. I was back in my habit of not calling after one or two dates and she was fairly fresh out of a horrific marriage to an asshat cheater. I was seemingly alone again until the next one or two date woman.
But this time I pursued. I liked her. I mean like-like. The double L. Like-like. She forgave my sweater choices and overlooked a ton of other shortcomings a 38-year-old bachelor has. I called. I tried to charm. She called back and charmed some herself. She moved in to my house a few months later and then the following year we got married.
So what is it about her? I think it’s that we complement each other’s weaknesses. I am incredibly terrible with money and very messy. She does the books for a company and has OCD with cleanliness. She gets stressed easily and likes to be in charge. I am uber laid back and love it when I don’t have to drive the bus. Jessica is structure. I am free flowing. Jessica is a redhead with the accompanying rage patterns. I have no hair and minimal temper. For the past nine years, our weaknesses have grown better. She’s not as stressed and I’m a bit cleaner. Her anger is much better and I grew a beard to make up for my baldness on top. She’s also smart, beautiful, hilarious, and fun. I’m just a dork so there’s balance.
We have a daughter, Frances, who will turn seven years old in May. Jessica is a damn good mother to our child and nothing turns me on more. Not in a sexy time way, but in a Damn, I love my wife way. I think Frances benefits from being raised by both of us and by our differences. She will remind me to pick up my dishes but will also laugh when she farts in my general direction.
Both Jess and I love music and we talked about what music we wanted at our wedding. We wanted songs that represented our union, but not in a sappy way. There would be no love songs from my past (Open Arms by Journey or Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper). We needed something awesome and thankfully, Jessica came up with the perfect anthem.
Because you’re mine, I walk the line.
If you throw out the misogynistic concept of someone’s partner being his or her property, that sentiment is somewhat sweet. But Johnny Cash can get away with this statement because he was the baddest ass in all of the land. The man in black. The icon. His song, I Walk the Line, played as my new bride and I walked back down the aisle after saying our vows and getting married.
Because you’re mine, I walk the line.
A less caveman way of saying that would be, “Because we have each other, I’ll be the best version of me.” For ten years, I’ve tried to do this and I think I’ve been moderately successful. Sure, there are things I could have done better (I still don’t see messes like I should and sometimes I have on my man ears and don’t listen 100% attentively) but all things considered, I’m doing alright.
I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
Everyone keeps a close watch on his or her heart. In hindsight and if I need to be perfectly honest, I was probably single at 38 because I was afraid of having my heart broken. I lost my mother to early-onset Alzheimer’s when she was 40 and I was positive I was going to inherit the disease. I was also positive that nobody could possibly love someone like me. When I met Jessica I had hope. I also met with a genetics doctor who tested me neurologically and made me feel much better about my outlook. I don’t think I would have met the geneticist if I hadn’t had that bit of hope that my bride gave me. Watching my mother slowly die broke my heart and I never wanted to hurt like that again. But after a few dates with my future wife, nothing mattered except spending time with her. Fears vanished. I just wanted to love and be loved.
Thank you Jessica for being everything I hoped for in a spouse and thank you Johnny Cash for your perfect song.