This esoteric title is referring to my marriage and the occasion of our first wedding anniversary.
I’ve been away for a few days, spending time reconnecting with my husband. I say ‘reconnecting’ but it doesn’t mean that we desperately need time away to focus on each other: more that we want to spend dedicated time together because we are each other’s favourite people.
He works during the week: I work some weekdays and every weekend. He leaves for work at 6.30 am: I work from 8 until at least 6.30pm. When I get home it is a maelstrom of evening meal, laundry and personal hygiene (guess which one gets skimped on?). We don’t spend much time awake with each other. I would love to be able to have quality time in the evening with him but, honestly, I can’t keep my eyes open past 8pm if I’ve been working. I know that sounds like an exaggeration but I am so mentally tired by the end of the day that I just can’t keep the eyelids ajar and I can’t stay awake long enough for him to be ready to sleep. I do the best I can, which is rolling over and hugging him around the waist whilst he sits upright and plays a computer game or reads.
I miss him in the daylight hours, though. That is why I took the weekend off work and he took a day of annual leave and we drove a very long way to camp in an extremely remote spot and it was just wonderful.
There was absolutely no network coverage so he had to suffer through lack of it (he is glued to his phone; me, I avoid telecommunications as much as possible so it didn’t affect at all.
The place was so remote that we had to let down the car tyres to drive the last 3 km over sandhills and the campsite was almost right on the beach. It rained the first night but we’d put up the tent, rather than just sleep in the swag, so we were fine. I even went swimming in the incredibly cold southern ocean (I refuse to go camping and not swim.) I prepared amazing meals on a portable gas cooker and a wood fire and I read and read and read the hell out of books that I had brought down.
For me, the best bit was getting away from people and recharging myself with isolation. Having the wild environment around (we had kangaroos and emus, complete with babies, around the area), seeing the wildflowers, breathing the salt air; I almost physically felt the rejuvenation.
My husband was happy to indulge me as regards the trip. I don’t honestly know if he likes camping as much as I do but my original test to see whether we would be compatible as long term partners, worked out in that he tolerated ten days of bush camping with me and a potentially sulky teenage girl. He got brownie points for that one and hasn’t said anything since to indicate he doesn’t like it so, in my peculiar frame of reference, that meant he would go along with me. And, after all, what isn’t to like about getting away, not organising it at all and having somebody else shove gourmet meals into your face at way too often intervals? Also, camping sex and an excuse for not washing dishes for three days.
Um, that wasn’t meant to imply that I am not washing dishes because my husband is constantly pouncing on me. I am not washing dishes because I am lazy and any action that occurs as a side-effect (more time) of this not washing is only ever a positive thing for me.
I may say ‘paper’ on the list of wedding anniversaries that allocates things to years but in my heart I am definitely settling back into a huge mound of emotion. I give you the alternative celebration for one year of marriage: ready-mix concrete.
Obviously, concrete has different properties to paper. A well prepared concrete block will weigh you down, restrict your activities but will force you to concentrate on the here and now. Talking together, discussing hopes and dreams, supporting each other through up and downs: the act of discussion is one further bedrock inch of that concrete block each time.