Lucky 13

I remember when I was on the way out the door, sleeping on a rolled out mat on the floor of my office, googling cheap apartments in my son's school district. I remember watching my husband paint his boat sky blue up on sawhorses in our back yard as if I wasn't inside shoving clothes into bags, watching him through the window. And then I remember when he was on the way out behind the violent bang of a slammed door, a dead look of the long gone a mask over his face. I remember the gut wrenching free fall, the sobs I couldn't stop or control, the borrowed cigarette under the awning in the skating rink parking lot outside in the pouring rain. It's harder to remember reconciliation because it's subtle and soft, a cow instead of a rhino. And then we fought angrily about the electrician and in my mind I divorced him a thousand times and I could see him also divorcing me. We went to bed steaming, each so right, the other so wrong. In the morning it could have gone either way. I could have hated him for another day but he turned to me and said, "Stupid words messing up our perfect bond," and it was those words that repaired it. A friend of mine told me that there are always several marriages within the course of the one, a cat with all of his 9 lives. And then we stumbled upon our 13 year anniversary, Lucky 13. "We've been on the brink of bankruptcy and divorce," I wrote in the card. "We've been through death and loss and weep holes and roaches and winters with no furnace and broke down cars." It sounded like the listing of the plagues at Passover--  blood, frogs, lice, wild beasts, pestilence, boils, hail, locust. "But it's having gone through hell that makes me appreciate any glimpse of heaven with you." And in the morning, after leaving he came back in just to give me a hug and I felt my whole body go limp with relief in his arms.