Monday, May 12, 2008

The view from here.

I'm sitting at my Mother's Day present, which is a day at the spa, starting with lunch, don't hold the curly fries, please. I am one at a table for two and it's me and Jhumpa Lahiri's first collection of stories and I just can't think of any place I'd rather be. After curly fries there will be a massage and a facial and then home to the fam for a BBQ and darn it if life just can't get any better than that.

Anyway, the view from my table is of a group of ladies having a baby shower for a second baby 's arrival in a family. I can tell because the shower is small and subdued, everyone passing around pictures of their kids and looking tired and happy to be eating bread that no one has taken a bite out of before them. They are a bit older. A bit wiser than your average baby shower crowd. There are no games, just gleeful, interruption-free conversation.

The view from their table is of the wall-length glass that separates the restaurant area of the resort from the resorty-area of the resort. The glass reveals a long hallway of sorts. From the baby shower table they can see a young couple taking their wedding pictures on the way to the ceremony. The bride is, of course, lovely with long dark hair and a young groom on her left who holds her train uncertainly, but with great kindness and effort. The couple smiles at the photographer and at one another. They do not see the women at the table having the baby shower. They do not see me seeing the women seeing them. It is as though it is a one way mirror this window between us; us with a view into our past, them with no view at all, except the one into the camera, into the unknown.

The women talk of sleeping schedules and not sleeping and birthday parties and whether or not boys should be invited to tea parties. It is the talk of women who have not debated the colors of bridesmaid dresses in quite some time. Or cakes. Women who can't remember dreaming of honeymoon locations. It is the talk of reality, and in listening to them, seeing the couple muted through the glass before me, I feel the distance between these phases of life. Between marriage and babies, it seems the miles are growing.

I wonder, as these women look on at the life forming in front of them, if they are reminiscing, reflecting back on their big day, their gown, their groom. I think they might be and I think it is with an experienced glaze over the memories, their skepticism, the skepticism of real marital life hanging over them like cartoon bubbles. If you could read them, they would say:

"Wait till you see how he NEVER takes out the trash on trash night."

"Enjoy that size 2 now honey. You are never seeing that again."

"Enjoy the honeymoon kids. It's about to be over."

The bubbles waft around the room and I look at them and wonder why the moment the ceremony is over, the biggest ceremony of our lives, the committment to a life together, why the romance of all the days before needs to be shut out and forgotten. We are urged to move on the "next." The next whatever: house, kid, boat, job, etc. The giddy moments before the vows, erupting into the air like earnest confetti, are gone. Perhaps it is too much to wish for: to have, to hold, for now and for always. For better and for worse. In good times and in bad.

Perhaps it is too much to wish for.

Perhaps it is easier to laugh it off. To think it impossible. To lose ourselves in babies and real estate and RV's and big screen TV's.

But I think of the other night, when I came home late and got into bed, still wearing all my clothes and Chris folded me in his arms, never once asking what I was doing, only holding me warmly, not letting go.

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