Five Years Later

5.2K 152 18
                                                  

Five Years Later

Before we were sealed together forever we sat side-by-side in the Celestial Room, both of us dressed in white. We waited for them to call our names so we could enter the room with the mirrors and the altar where your large family and my small family waited for us. You fingers laced through mine so perfectly that I wasn't scared at all.

*

Sometimes I feel like the first year of our marriage was an elaborate game of house. We didn't know what marriage should look like so we mimicked others. We fought over things like who's turn it was to take out the trash and who left the towel on the bathroom floor because we thought that's what marriage was: chores and dinner on the table at six o'clock.

*

I felt incapable when you were gone and our car got stolen. I called you twice before I even called the police because I knew you could fix this better than them. I needed your reassuring voice and your silent anger. Instead I got your voice mail. While I waited for you to call back, I showed the beefy officer where our car should have been, feeling silly as I gestured to the open air.

*

Remember that time you sliced your thumb open on the rim of a soup can? Red blood streamed down the kitchen sink and you fainted, your eyes going wide and vacant as I guided you down to the floor. My anxiety got really bad after that. I realized that you aren't really mine. You're on loan to me with an unknown repossession date.

*

After leaving the fancy banquet in separate cars, I prayed for a reprieve. There was a tightness in my chest that wouldn't go away, even when you said the most reassuring things. When I got home and you told me you'd gotten the job, I thought you were joking or your boss was lying. Why should good things happen to us?

*

It was serendipitous how we found our house. How the moment we walked in, it felt like our home. Never mind the red carpet in the basement or the small kitchen. There's a playhouse in the backyard and a space to plant a garden. It's a good place to raise a family.

*

I felt like I would shatter the day we brought our son home from the hospital. I had pictured so many times the moment we would walk through the front door with him, a small bundle of blankets and pink skin. Is he still breathing? I kept asking even though you'd told me to rest. He's another person who's only on loan to me.

*

I don't even recognize my body anymore. The skin on my abdomen will never be taut again. As you pull me into a hug, your hands feel foreign on my new hips. I keep telling you I miss you even when you're right here. I hold on to you as tight as I can and it's still not close enough.

*

Five years later we eat at the restaurant where we had our first date. The menu is different than we remember. The couple who dined with us that night is now divorced. We hope the statistics favor us and we're part of the fifty percent that stay married. They were just like us: Mormons trying to reconcile their faith with their politics. Maybe my dad is right; you can't be a good Mormon and vote Democrat.

*

You suggest we split an eclair since you shouldn't eat too much dairy. The pastry is flaky and delicate. The crème filling is thick and sweet. I admire your self-control as you put your fork down after just one bite. I guiltily lick chocolate from my lips. Are you happy with all the things you've given up for me?

*

We return to the place where our first kiss should have been and where you proposed. The bushes you hid in while you watched me search for the ring is now a power-substation. I grab your wrist and ask in earnest if you think we'll make it another five years. Sure, you say, as you lace our fingers together. Why wouldn't we? And I marvel that our hands still fit so well even after all this.

Confessions of a Mormon Bride (2014 Watty Award Winner)Where stories live. Discover now