Thursday, July 12, 2007
Getting What He Deserves
Today (June 22nd) is our anniversary. Thirty plus.
So over coffee, Hub says to me, “I can’t believe with all the divorce and separation going on that you and I are still together. But then, when I was a young man, I knew what I was doing. I’m nobody’s fool.
They say ‘love is blind’ but it doesn’t have to be if love-struck couples would just pause to consider how the other would react if things suddenly turned bad. To keenly observe before marriage how vindictive and revengeful the other could become.”
So I had to ask, “When one is courting and madly in love, believing they could not live or breath without that love, how can these things be discovered?”
“In small ways,” he said. “Through paying attention to how a person reacts to being squeezed in traffic, manipulated by others, or being told by a clerk that the item that is too large or too small is neither exchangeable or refundable. How they react to close friends when they discover those they trust can suddenly no longer be trusted?”
He went on to remind me of situations of my youth. Among other things, the day I discovered that a dear friendship had gone bad and the time I was refused the promotion at work that should have happened. And how I railed with tears and disappointment, but how quickly I pulled myself back together, once I got past the initial upheaval.
These were the tests of my underlying nature, painful to remember but Hub says I passed them all. The failed promotion interfered with my good nature longer than the other things, but Hub said he couldn’t judge me to harshly for that cause he would have been mad too. In the interview I was asked if I would do a task outside of my job description and I responded that if I had the time and it would not interfere with specified responsibilities, “I wouldn’t not do it.” And so later, the reason I was given for having failed the interview was because I used a ‘double-negative in a sentence!’
So now Hub told me, “I was sorry the failed promotion thing happened but at the same time glad it happened. That was the situation that clearly told me you had a sense of honor that made it possible for you to either swallow disappointment or separate yourself from it. To forgive or at the least forget, rather than taking on a streak of mutterings of vindication and vicious intent such as… ‘I’ll make them pay, and they’ll pay and pay. I’ll make their lives utter misery until the end of time.’ ”
And so, Hub explained, that before a marriage commitment, he carefully observed my reactions. And from that he knew that if we ever split I would never take more than my share. (And although I was not as astute as Hub, in his observations, I had the same confidence of fairness in him.) So for us there was never any concern about one common bank account or whose name was on what.
And so, today Hub revealed to me, that these were the assessments he made about me. He admitted he didn’t know if we would always be together but he did know that if it came to separation, whether I was crushed or even happily relieved, I could empathize with others and would never turn on him with evil vindictiveness and eternal life-long schemes of revenge.
Now I’m the omnipotent narrator of this story, so I’m going to tell you something here. Like any other couples, we regularly get really ‘steamed’ at each other. Seriously steamed.
And so my comeback was, “I hate to tell you this but you’re not so smart as you may think. You think that because we have been together thirty odd years that it is because you initially knew what you were doing. And that you knew me well enough to know what I was doing or planning to do. That you crawled inside my soul and rooted around there until you were satisfied you understood all the deepest convictions in my heart. But that is not the case.
You know bloody well how steamed I get with you. I have news for you, Hub. I am still here because my vindication and life-long revenge is to stay with you, to write it down, to remind you of it, to make you relive every mistake, to badger you, needle you, annoy you, frustrate you. To get full restitution and complete revenge for anything you have ever done that disappointed me—and to never, ever, let it rest. That is why we remain together. I have you in lock-down and I fully intend to hold you in this painful prison until death do us part.
So now,” I said, while holding my mouth in a grim line, “how do you like those bananas? How do you feel about another Anniversary now?”
Hub laughed and kissed my cheek. “That’s fair,” he said. I’m willing to continue to accept all the pain and torment of your harsh discipline as long as the bed is warm and the food is good.”
Then immediate panic on Hub’s part. “Oh please, Roberta. Don’t write that down.”