April 21, 1982 was a Wednesday – my husband and I stood before a Justice of the Peace in a chapel on the Las Vegas strip. We hadn’t planned to be there, hadn’t talked about a Vegas wedding or announced our intention. The previous day had started as any other, by evening we were on a plane to Vegas. A wedding band purchased at a shop in Caesar’s Palace, $35 for a license at the court house, a few cruises of the strip before settling on one of the all night chapels – we were married.
No wedding dress, flowers, photographs, first dance or cake – never important, never missed and never regretted.
If we’re lucky enough to find that one person; the person destined to nurture without coddling, listen without judgement, hear our darkest secrets without bolting, smile fondly in understanding of our frailties, give us as much rope as we need but never enough to hang ourselves, and call bullshit when necessary – nothing else matters.
Thirty two years ago I became whole, living life as intended with the one person capable of making it complete. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or if one of us stumbles and falls – we have each other and nothing can take that away.
Today is my 31st wedding anniversary. It doesn’t feel like 31 years, whatever 31 years is supposed to feel like. Both in our 50’s, by all appearances a middle aged couple. with grown children. True as that statement may be, I don’t see a middle aged man when I look at him. Lovely and perfect as the day we met, I see that young man in every grey hair and exquisite imperfection. Aesthetically growing old is a bitch; a cruel trick played out by a prankster named “time”. Every once in a while, if you’re lucky enough – you get the last laugh. I’m laughing because 31 years seems like last night.
Pondering April 21, 1982 is surreal. The only chance to put it in perspective is to look at the year 1982. It isn’t enough to see our children, travels, heartbreaks or triumphs; all of which made us stronger, closer, and more likely to be that old couple holding hands on a park bench. We talked about all those years, neither of us able to fathom 31 years. Not because it made the slightest difference, simply because it was so incredible that we stumbled upon each other.
The day we were married in Las Vegas, I Love Rock and Roll by Joan Jett was the number one song. 1982 was the year when the first CD player was sold in Japan and the Weather Channel hit the airwaves. Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, USA Today issued its first copy, Robert Jarvik implanted an artificial heart, and Michael Jackson released Thriller.
Pondering events in 1982 give perspective to how long 31 years is. Just the jolt I needed before saying goodnight to our anniversary and 31 of the best years of my life.