Sometimes I look at Mike and think, That's one lucky guy. Not only because he's tall, ageless, handsome and has great kids, but because he has an awesome wife. These feelings usually coincide with a move, as I bask in a certain self-satisfaction about what a good sport I am (for being Mike's groupie, following him around to wherever it is he goes), how well-adapted I am (because I can see a sign up the street that says "Give a tasteful gift: Beef" and still manage to laugh about my newest surroundings), and how highly capable I am (to the tune of organizing 16,000+ pounds of belongings in a matter of days).
Sometimes I let Mike know about his vast luck in convincing me to marry him and, to my surprise, he frequently seems to believe me. And it's usually around that realization that I return to my senses and think, That poor guy. He just doesn't know any better. And I continue to hope, on a very regular basis, that he never wisens up and realizes he may have gotten the short end of the non-existent stick.
The Poor Mike sentiment also usually coincides with a move, as well, and this move was no exception. Just the other day, as I was cramming a package of light bulbs into a space almost large enough to hold a package of light bulbs (while Mike watched silently, shaking his head and likely biting through his tongue), I looked at him and laughed and said, "What would your life be like without me?"
If I were to answer that question, I would say that it would be empty - and I am talking about the sheer quantity of things. When we moved in together 12 years ago (though we'd both lived independently beforehand), Mike had a couple of duffle bags - nothing so fancy as suitcases - and a foot locker or two. I came with my own u-Haul. Now, we are up to eight full tons of personal belongings, and I know if I weren't in the picture, Mike would probably have a recliner that doubled as a bed, some Star Wars action figures for company, a box of books and his Rat Olympics trophy. In addition to an "empty" life, he'd likely have a lot less to shake his head at, with no one to force fragile things into places they don't fit. That's what I was expecting him to answer, based on the light bulb scene that had just occured. But, instead, the exchange went like this:
M: My life would be awful without you.
K: No, it wouldn't. You'd have found someone else.
M: Maybe, but it wouldn't have lasted.
K: Sure it would've. Plenty of women would've pursued you and you'd have ended up with one of them.
M: No, I wouldn't. I was meant to marry you.
K: You don't really believe that, do you? That there's only one person for you, and I'm it?
M: Yes. Don't you?
K: Of course not.
M: How many people do you think are for you?
K; Plenty. And there are plenty for you...(long pause, as I notice Mike looking deflated. More headshaking, unrelated to the light bulb incident.) Not that I want you to go out and find any of them, of course...
And this is how I always come to my senses and switch from That's one lucky guy to That poor guy. I have a husband with romantic ideals who believes in fate and destiny and thinks I'm it for him. Poor, poor Mike...to somehow think that I am the only one in the world for him. That poor, sweet man.
Mike promptly recovered and suggested that I should write spirit-deflating "greeting" cards for an anti-Hallmark. A Kelly-inspired anniversary card might say something like, "You two are still together?!?! Guess I'm out $50. Good luck hanging on another year," or a Kelly-inspired get-well card might say something like, "I don't do prayers but maybe if you clean up your act, your health will follow." There are a few other cards we created that wouldn't sell very well, thanks to my complete lack of romanticized ideas about anything.
I don't believe in fate. Or destiny. Or soul mates. Mike's and my differences abound. For example, he thinks that his hair is "bushy" if it exceeds a quarter-inch in length. I hold no such opinion. I like the electric blanket control to be visible on the floor next to the bed; Mike always tucks the control under the bedskirt, out of sight (after he so kindly preheats my side of the bed). He likes Michael Buble; I do not. Milk is my favorite beverage; he never touches it. To say I love ketchup would be a drastic understatement. I think it should be its own category on the food pyramid. Mike loathes ketchup. Soul mates? I can't believe he thinks so.
Yet we stay married and do just fine, almost all the time. I don't attribute it to anything other than two people actually liking each other and treating each other well, minus the occasional hurt feelings when one of us (usually me) is an insensitive jackass. Though I sometimes look at Mike and think, That's one lucky guy, I know I'm lucky, too. Not just because I'm a good sport, well-adapted, highly capable and have great kids, but because I have a great husband who, fortunately for me, has the romantic idea that I'm the only one in the world for him. That poor guy.