the boys of summer

A little voice inside my head said,
“Don’t look back. You can never look back.”

A day late, but for once, perhaps not quite a dollar short.

We are not date-obsessed people. We have spent anniversaries apart over the years. We passed ‘couple’ and ‘handful’ and are rapidly lazing our way toward double digits, and yet … here we still are.

Perspective says how utterly young and naive we were on that day. We probably haven’t learned much, but at least we have a mortgage to show for it.

The photos from Day Zero hang in the hallway, and every year they become a little less true, a little more representative of past rather than present. I thought of the wedding photos I grew up seeing in other houses, and wondered if the people in them ever thought about taking the photos down because they were so old, so out of date.

I looked at ours just last week while Adam visited, and realized the attrition of time is catching our photos, too. Gone: the minister who performed our ceremony, and the man whose arm I am holding in the practice march. The classic ‘geeks in the wedding’ photo has one of our last photos of a childhood friend of Jeff’s who is now gone as well.

Every other person in that photo has changed. Kara has children. Brad got married. Dan and Stephanie got married. Eleanor had a breast reduction. We all look older than the brash barely-twentysomethings we were in that photo.

And yet … here we are, you and me.

I write every year on our anniversary, looking for the ineffable something that will sum up life, marriage, and the relentless 365-stepped march of time, and this year I have no better explanation of why we’re here, or why this has worked.

We were young, and we knew everything; we are older now and we only know enough to be dangerous.

We shared lunch at a deli with Adam, during which, halfway through my muffaletta, I turned to you and blurted, “Oh yeah! Happy anniversary!” I had taken a partial day off to savor the last few hours of our unexpected houseguest’s visit, but you headed back to work.

We, Adam and I, debated what we should do in the hours we had left; we opted for the geek simplicity of wandering Best Buy and a bookstore. While he wandered ahead, I ambled my way through the sci-fi and asked myself how I would write up this day, knowing that whatever I wrote would stand in lockstep with prior anniversary entries as a testament to the passage of our time.

Don Henley played over the speaker, softly sliding words we’ve played dozens of times before back into the forefront of my brain. How many times have we commented on this song when it came over the radio or one of us played its album on our stereo system? I’ve lost count, and, I suspect, so have you.

Given the passage of time and mingling of experiences, it becomes harder and harder to guess where we might have been now without the other’s influence in our lives. We’ve thrown our lives in together for so long that I think it impossible to guess where we would have gone alone.

Happy ninth anniversary, Jeff. Sorry for this being a day late. I meant to write this on the day of, but falling asleep into my book at eight p.m. rarely bodes well for getting entries posted on time.

July 26, 2007