Upset

Yesterday was my third anniversary.

I adore the fact that it’s one day before Valentine’s Day so the pressure is off — we go out to eat a day early, someplace nice. My husband wears his wedding suit, showers, shaves, removes any stray back-of-the-neck messiness, and let me say — he cleans up good.

I put on a dress, which is a rarity — full makeup, beautiful heels. I even curled my hair once, back when I had more of it, though trying to curl what I’ve got going on now would certainly be a fun experiment (any advice?).

This all went according to plan. I looked beautiful, my husband looked handsome, and we hustled our way through the cold and the block and a half to Our Place.

Tapas 177, bar upstairs, restaurant downstairs, dance floor adjacent to the dining room. We considered having our wedding there before we pulled the killswitch and opted for Vegas. Everything is lit up in red, a romantic version of ladies in Amsterdam windows. Usually we sit upstairs, chat with the bartenders and the waitresses while they’re waiting for their trays to fill. They let me smoke my e-cig up there, they’ll let Nate smoke after hours up there. We scoot our barstools together so we can lean on each other, and some of the drinks come for free and we hassle the owner for one of the black and white employee shirts. It’s the first place we ever went on a date — the owner, Demetrio, remembers. We’ve been up on the roof past 2AM, seen the light on, and walked straight in to free drinks and sincere hellos.

It’s Our Place.

I didn’t want to go.

I was exhausted from work and the week, and I felt anxious, edgy. I just wanted to exchange cards, little gifts, and be together — but we went, and we sat downstairs. It felt proper that way.

But we were all the way in the back, next to the wine cellar door, and near enough to the kitchen to hear every shout of “coming in!” and next to a trio of remarkably underdressed Asian kids who kept pulling out their iPhone 6+s to watch YouTube videos and take selfies. We might have been right under a speaker.

I started with a Midnight Manhattan — bourbon, lavender tea syrup, and orange zest — because it felt comforting, classy, a piece of a larger event, and we toasted to three years together, four months married. But as the courses arrived, and we began to talk about our weeks, our stories, the ambient noise became a cacophony and the talk became ridicule, and I couldn’t stand to be wearing a dress, or being tipsy, or wearing make-up and I had to get out of there.

I hated pleading with my husband through the beginnings of a panic attack. Please, I need to leave — he tried to calm me, to focus on my breathing, to meditate, but it was too much, and too loud, and I was about to fly out of my skin, so I left.

I went home and scrubbed off the make-up, but not the shame or the anger and I laid in bed, waiting for him (unaware that the waitress had been watching and offered him a shot for having to deal with that crazy girl — I could kill her), trying to breathe deeply instead of wading through the shallows that never give you enough oxygen, trying to quiet myself, and find solace in Spring Fashion magazines.

It wasn’t ten minutes before he was home, sitting beside my curled body on our bed, and I was so afraid he was angry with me. But, with my head in his lap, he told me he was only upset that I was going through this, and he held me until I could fall asleep on my own.

We didn’t exchange presents, or laugh as much as I would have liked, or even have the dessert-coffee-scotch combination I love so terribly. But we were close, and understanding, and so completely in love that, to me at least, it didn’t matter.

And that, to me, is a happy anniversary.

The Husband I Never Write About

I have a husband that I never write about.

I write about the ex-would-be-husbands, and the mental illness that I appear to be married to, and about the great love of my short life — writing, but I never write about my husband.

I didn’t write my wedding vows. I had always assumed I would, but instead went with the ages-old words that thousands and millions and perhaps even billions of people have said before me to bind us in matrimony because I don’t write about my husband, or our love, or our life together.

We’re not too precious to discuss in words, too close to my heart to share. Our love story is unique, and impossible, and against all the odds that we placed on ourselves and each other — such is the way when you begin as your husband’s decade-younger intern-turned-mistress. And I have told that story through my eyes, have sold that story for internet eyes. But I don’t write about my husband.

I don’t write about the way he sleeps through the first two hours or more of my days, and when I shuffle into the bedroom in his slippers looking for his oversized-on-me grey sweatshirt because mornings are cold in the apartment, and I need the pockets for my Blistex and e-cig, and he’s laying on his back, sometimes snoring, most times in yesterday’s clothes and his knees drawn up and I smile at him, knowing that flailed somewhere, his left hand has the ring on it that we picked out together, and that, on our wedding day, wouldn’t slide on smoothly; everyone laughed as I shoved it on determinedly, the back-track to part of our wedding video.

And I don’t write about the streaks of grey in his hair that I love, that he loves, that make him sexy and sometimes scare me because one day he’ll still be ten years older, but that will mean so much more — who knows how he’ll deteriorate, my tall, strong man? Who can say if he’ll inherit his mother’s propensity for mini-strokes, or, god forbid, a massive one because I read One Hundred Names For Love and I know how he’d hate to be treated like a child by hospital workers and would become angry about being unable to speak and would probably cry and look at me with eyes that begged me to smother him — he’s told me this before: if it gets that bad, just put a pillow over my face. No! Well, then give me the means to do it myself — and I wouldn’t be able to do it, and not killing my husband would make me hate myself.

I don’t write about what he calls me — my baby — or the cats — BuddyGoodBoy and AwLittleBeebs. I don’t write that he thinks soup isn’t food, or that he designs all of my cards himself, or that he can sing like Tom Waits, fingerpick like Nick Drake, and needs to pick up his guitar again because he keeps his right-hand fingernails long just to play, and he doesn’t do it much, but was made to.

I don’t write about his obsession with what his hair is doing, or his love for well fitted clothing, or how when he smokes a cigarette, it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see, but I worry about his lungs, especially when mixed with the grey hair.

I don’t write about all the little worries and how they all add up to the most wonderful love anyone could possibly experience, and that counts your love because it couldn’t possibly touch mine — you don’t have him, the husband I never write about.