Yeah, another Smiths/Morrissey quote. I can't help myself. It may be lost on most, but I know Pamplemousse will get the reference, she's well-versed in Morrissey. She pretty much rocks.
So I wasn't going to join in this little blogging célébration de l'amour, but after the breakdown I had over The Dude's health and well-being tonight, I have been provoked to talk about our story. The Dude was supposed to pick me up from work tonight, and after 25 minutes of waiting without him appearing, I decided to walk home. Already working myself into panic mode as The Dude is never late, I had to focus on walking when my first instincts were to not vomit or hypervenilate. Yeah, I'm a freak. There is no grey area with me, it's all black and white. Alive or dead. Alive = you're picked up on time. Dead = 25 minutes late.
With each block closer to home I became more nervous, taking into account all the signs throughout the day that surely pointed to his early demise: MP3 player on random playing songs about death, lost love, and other gothic musings; mobile left at home, preventing the police from contacting me; he said he loved me twice before we parted ways this morning, but I was too busy sorting out my jacket and purse to reciprocate. Things like that. As I started to walk up our street I actually avoided looking in the direction of our building, anticipating that I would see a police car parked outside. Once I arrived at the parking bay, it was only The Dude's car parked in our space. He was waiting at the front door, but I was too busy crying and trying to breathe to say anything to him. Yes ladies, I'm all kinds of fucked up. In honour of my rediscovered (not that it was ever buried too deep) immense love for my husband, this is our dysfunctional love story.
I was a young, fresh-faced maiden of 16. He, a red-headed, freckled man of the world and six years older. The Dude was employed by a company that brought soccer-coaching Brits to the US to teach the ignorant suburbanites the true spirit and methods of the game. My brother was to attend the camp, and upon hearing it would be run by hot athletic British men, I made it my mission to scope out the talent. My mother inadvertently helped me out with my plan by enabling one of the coaches to stay at our house in exchange for reduced tuition to the camp for my brother. Unfortunately, this one was married, but the benefit was that the other coaches often came over to plan the sessions.
When I met The Dude, I must confess that I was enamoured of the accent more than anything. Well, that and his mighty fine legs. When I knew he was coming over to meet with the other coaches, I would change my outfit numerous times until I was satisfied, and put on Portishead's "Dummy", which I knew he liked. When he inevitably commented that he really liked Portishead, I tried to act surprised, though I imagine I failed miserably. We flirted a bit, but nothing transpired that summer due to Pennsylvania having some rather firm statutory rape laws.
After he left that summer, I didn't think of him much. I was in my senior year of high school and was taken with a platinum-haired boy who wore leather pants. Unfortunately he found it difficult to not have a threesome with a friend and a random skanky underclassman, so that ended and I was free to dream of men with British accents again.
When The Dude came back, the flirting and playing of Portishead resumed. On the night of my 18th birthday, I was relegated to staying at home doing laundry, as none of my inconsiderate friends had bothered to invite me to go out to celebrate. As I had my back to the laundry room door, The Dude shuffles up to me reluctantly and says,
"So...do you want to go to a movie or something? I feel bad leaving you at home to do laundry on your 18th birthday." to which I replied:
"Sure. Nothing keeping me here!"
Those words will haunt me for the rest of my days, as this faked ambivalence is thrown back in my face regularly after nearly ten years have passed. Oh Pru, you poor stupid girl. Little did you know that those apparently harmless four words would be the punchline of your relationship with this man for decades to come.
We went to see "Phenomenon". I can only assume there was absolutely nothing of worth on the other screens, as I cannot fathom paying money for a John Travolta weepfest these days. However, it seems my hormones were all over the place back then as well, because I cried and my eyeliner etched itself into my skin and presented my emotional vulnerability for all to see. Rather than trying to be sensitive and impress upon me his kind nature, The Dude laughed at me, pointed and said, "Haha. You cried." Fuuuuuuuuuuuck you.
Despite his lack of consideration, we continued to see each other. He had some trouble with the family he was staying with, so my Mom offered him a place at our house. After a couple of months of this permutation of living together, he had to go back to the UK. For about a month or so after he left I slept in his bed just so I could smell him and pretend for a moment that he was still there. I never mentioned this during our lengthy trans-Atlantic phone calls because he was obnoxious and arrogant enough as it was and I didn't want to make him even more so.
After numerous trips to the UK, often sacrificing my college classes for 3 week trips overseas, and his many trips to the US, *perhaps* violating certain Immigration laws, he decided that he was getting too old or some such nonsense. During one of his extended trips, we went out to dinner to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. After dinner, we went to a local park to stroll around the moonlit pond and act like a stereotypical, Hallmark-style couple. He stopped on the footbridge and said he wanted to ask me something. Being stupid, naive, and ignorant, I had absolutely no idea what was to follow. He whipped out (minds out of the gutters ladies) a gorgeous, and heavy platinum and diamond ring. I grabbed the railing of the footbridge to steady myself and tried mightily to refrain from vomiting. My answer: "I'll think about it." to which he handed me the ring and walked to the car. Oops.
We had a silent 15 minute drive back to my house. Upon arriving, he jumped out of the car, ran into the house and locked himself in the guest bedroom. Oops. After much crying and gnashing of teeth, he allowed me in the room. I told him that I wasn't ready for marriage yet, and he convinced me that the engagement was meant to be long-term, which satisfied me. I said yes, and all was right with the world.
We became increasingly tired of conducting a very long-distance relationship, and decided to get married for erm...reasons other than just love that may or may not involve something green. On 6 July 1999 I put on a dress and he put on a non-soccer shirt and we made our way to the Justice of the Peace. We were out of there inside 10 minutes, and because I still didn't feel ready for marriage as such, we treated it as a practical arrangement. We agreed to not share the news with anyone outside our immediate family, and emphasised to them that this was not a "real" wedding.
The "real" wedding came later - on 18 December 2001. As I mentioned in a previous post, we were married in a 14th century church, and the bride wore white despite being more fond of something in black. So here we are, in wedded bliss...yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah. You know.
One of my best friends wrote in my yearbook senior year: "Go forth young Pru and find yourself that boy across the pond with rings on his fingers and sexy sideburns. I know you'll find one."
Well, I found my boy from across the pond. He doesn't wear rings, he doesn't have sideburns, but he does have damn fine legs and verges on perfection.
Apparently there will be no photograph of the engagement and wedding rings. My digital camera has decided that zoom with any clarity is soooo last year. Bastard. Maybe next year.