Monday, November 2, 2015
Forgetting Wedding Anniversaries, Remembering Love
My husband didn't remember either. I suppose I could blame him, say it was his fault. Claim to be offended that because we eloped, had only the religious melka, not any big Omani-style urs wedding feast, that I didn't wear Omani-dress or a white ballgown, or a veil, but a black abaya, and that all the maher/dowry he had to pay was for an antique silver Omani ring from souq nizwa and for a little silver box (I think it cost in total under fifteen rials) that he forgets my wedding day. I could manipulate and guilt-trip him into something awesome for today.
I think my husband just realized he too forgot and is planning something for tonight. I am pretending I have no idea. I am not really a person who is easily surprised, and thus, I don't like surprises very much. I am very much a planner. I plan things, get them done.
Of course, a woman never forgets how she would have liked to have had her wedding done. Of course, I planned out my future wedding as a yougin'. I've been married twice now. Still didn't happen how I planned. Love doesn't work well with plans, is what I've since discovered.
I didn't need more because I already knew my husband-to-be's character. Patient, kind, and brave people need less insurance policy than romantic sorts from fairytales...
Everyone Omani and adult male who knows me well (as like, aquaintances from work and good Muslims I know) at first were shocked about me getting married in secret and to someone without a good solid income, or in the situation my husband is in. But now they see the wisdom in his character, which I already knew. Anybody else, would have divorced me a dozen times by now;). I am not an easy soul. I am a storm, a volcanoe, a secret forest path that I won't tell you about even I like you because it is mine in memory... Love and trust for me, are not easy, if loyalty and duty are.
I knew it from luck really, women wanting to get married aren't usually able to see through men to the core of their personality and character. As it was, at the time, I was heartbroken, low, and discouraged, when I was first introduced to the man I am married to now, and I saw him with almost accusing eyes, prepared to see the worst in him, and expect nothing good. He wasn't the man of my dreams. He wasn't the hero I'd envisioned, however, he was someone who could say, stand up girl and save yourself.
For someone like me, that's more important than being rescued, surely, since I am well equipped to take care of myself and see the world as it is.
He wouldn't give up on me. As likeable a character trait as that is, for me, it marked him out to be a complete idiot. He's an onblivious, rash, unthinking kind of person. He does what is in his heart.
He to this day, doesn't understand how I don't think calling him stupid is offensive but is actually something sweet. Stupidity of that kind, is rare. Maybe it isn't actually stupidity, maybe it is faith? But to someone as practical as I like to be, I call it stupid.
Now we have been married for almost five years. Time flies. He's still stupid, and patient, and full of dreams for plans, I'm still remarkably unkind and stubborn and impatient and imperfect and suspicious of people.
You could dress up in another day in the past, put him into a bisht, wrap a mussayr, strap a khanjar on, put me in a gown with jewels in my hair and perfume on my skin, but we'd still be those two people who were married and remain married now, only the process of how we would have gone about it would have been different. It would still be just one day from our pasts that we'd forget when we are fighting, when we are busy with our kids and our jobs, and deciding what to cook for dinner or if we can afford to eat out instead...
...I can romanticize weddings, but not marriage. Marriage isn't romantic. Waking up beside the same person every day, dealing with their foibles, and quirks, and personality flaws and cleaning up the messes of their rash actions, and seeing your own flaws constantly reflected back at you through them, and growing old together, none of that is romantic. But it is real. It is a day that you have, and have a good chance of tomorrow, not a memory that is gone and not repeatable.
Is marriage merely comfort and support? Maybe. I won't say that it isn't a good backup, when you're weak and you're down low. Is it habit?
It would be so strange to wake up one day and realize that you have no one to share your thoughts of the day with, funny things your children did, a fact about someone who annoyed you, a beautiful dream...
Is it something we stubbornly cling to, because of all the effort we put into it?
We went through a lot to get married, and even the man who married us went through a lot and risked a lot to marry us.
I think of the man who married us, an Imam from Barka, who could have lost his job for doing so. I remember his wife, who gave me my wedding food, even though it was late in the evening. I remember their kindness, nothing compared of course, to what my husband went through.
I remember going to court and fighting to prove that the marriage even happened, since the man who married us, and his wife, were killed in the fighting in Yemen, where the man had gone to work as an Imam, sinced he said, Oman's unislamic laws forbid halal marriages from being conducted...
Valentines day, people think of that priest dude Valentine? Who was behaded for marrying soldiers to their sweet hearts? which was against the law? I think, that happens still in the world, why have an anniverary say for that? Or why not have a Anne Boelyn or Catherine Howard day as well?
That happens in GCC countries everyday (of course not beheadings! but punishing those for doing what their religious committments require of them to do) so I think of that Imam today, and his wife, who died. I wonder what their wedding story was? If they remembered their anniversary?
I think marriage is mutual admiration and trust, nothing more or less. Without those things, it deteriorates, breaks down, becomes something wretched and reduces people to decrepit monsters or wraiths of their former selves. Love is those two aspects united, perhaps blindly at first, then with such clarity, that it forces one to reckon one's own flaws and weigh them upon a scale of what is worthy to change, and what must be accepted, despite the weight of it.
We forget our anniversary, but still feel that the scale is lighter towards the end of our own true selves, and those made brighter, than the things we have let go of, to be in this place. That's what I remember, when I set myself down to remember such things.