Some Mornings

Some mornings are simply better than others. The birds chirp mellow, smooth, instead of high pitched and whiny. The coffee smells sweeter, infusing the air with the perfect hint of hazelnut, no more, no less. The bed feels warm, like a cocoon, enveloping me in its warm embrace. The children sleep in, so there are no interruptions, no screams, no yells, nothing at all. Just the sound of silence, and the steady breathing of my wife beside me as I hold her closely.

Some mornings I am in my thoughts, concentrating on what’s to come instead of on what has been, focused on the next thing. I am attuned not to the coming rain but to the storm clouds that are gathering, studying them for signs of early spring, or fading glory, or everything else and nothing else all at once. I stretch out my hand to feel the rain I know is coming, to embrace the coming downpour in ways I never have before. I flinch at its cold presence mingling with my own, and I close the window.

Some mornings there’s Ed Sheeran singing in my ear, reminding me that everything should be all about the rhythm. I sing along to the beat, knowing how close the lyrics are to my own life, to the words that would be in my head even if I wasn’t listening to it. I’m reminded that life, while solitary, is a shared experience, that others are listening to this same song right now, or ruminating on it in their minds, or lost in their dreams of it. Or songs like it. Or thoughts like it. And I smile.

Some mornings I am just so grateful for this life, for this ability to awaken again, to welcome the sun, the sound of the chirping crickets, the cold floor under my feet as I stand. The bed looks forlorn without me in it, with my wife still there steadily breathing, still fast asleep. I tuck the abandoned sheets and covers in around her, a poor facsimile for the warmth of myself, but it’s what I have to give when I have to be up and moving. When the night turns into day and I’m left staring at the thin line.

But some mornings… some mornings I can stay there with her. I can hold her closer than my own skin and our breathing naturally synchronizes. Some mornings I can imagine forever.



There She Goes

“There she goes. There she goes again. Running through my brain… and I just can’t contain the feeling that remains.”

Rearview mirrorSo, there I was, driving up Route 12, heading home when I saw a pair of headlights behind me. I glanced in the rear view and vaguely recognized the make and model of the car behind me — because it was the same as my wife’s. But I try to stay focused on the road ahead when I’m driving. Yet something kept dragging my eyes back to that car, and I saw the driver waving at me.

You guessed it. It wasn’t just the make and model of the car my wife drives. It was my wife, in the last place I would have expected her at 3:15 in the afternoon out on Route 12, directly behind me. My heart leapt in my chest because it was her, it was really her, and I can’t explain just how I feel every single time I see her. It’s especially true when it’s an unexpected encounter.

I’m sure it’s just me, that not every man has those first encounter flights of adrenaline like I have when I see my wife. I mean, it’s been 15 years since we first started talking, and we’ve had our ups and downs, but that feeling never goes away. Perhaps I’m just a sentimental guy. After all, I celebrate the day she first emailed me, the day she first told me she loved me, and the day I first moved here to Central New York. So why not celebrate every time I get to see the woman who chose me?

I try to tone it down from time to time, because I know she’s nowhere near as sentimental as I am. Which is okay. I knew this about her when we first met. And I have to admit it makes me that much more excited in those moments when she is sentimental. Of course I hope she doesn’t get overloaded with my exuberance, but she knew this about me when we first met. And she’s stuck with me nevertheless. I think it makes for a good combination.

So, there I was, driving up Route 12, heading home when I saw my wife behind me, waving as if she was excited at the coincidence. In that moment I could feel her excitement that rivaled mine. In that moment. And I felt a thousand warm and fuzzies coursing through my body as I waved back and blew her kisses. She makes me want to sing a karaoke duet with her, but I wouldn’t because she would hate it. But it still makes me feel good even wishing that we could.

We parted a few moments later, me still heading home, and her going about the course of her day, but there she was, and there she goes. Which always makes me smile.


The Language of Things

Every relationship has an originality to it that defies explanation, but it can be seen in the subtle signals, in the secret code, and in the routines that separate the two within it from the rest of the world. No matter if the relationship is a short one or has some longevity there are always objects — things — that define the connection while also explaining why it’s a special one.

My wife and I decided to give our relationship a chance 13 years ago this month.

If I were to leave a message for my wife describing our relationship using only objects and no words, those objects would be:








Dear Journal: About a Girl

Dear Journal,

Before I met her my longest previous relationship was three years, and during two and a half years of that one it was like a nuclear warhead. I guess I should have quit while I was (slightly) ahead, but that’s altogether a different story for a different time. The point being that I really had no idea how to be in a long-term relationship, when there wasn’t an end in sight from the very beginning, at least for me. I’ll admit that right off the bat.

And I made a ton of mistakes. I’m not going to say they were all caused by finally being in a relationship with no end date in sight, but I will say that my psyche wasn’t helped by having no solid horizon. Yeah, I was pretty screwed up when it came to getting and giving love and affection, and in accepting that not everything needs to be a battle. She taught me almost from the very beginning that being part of a couple doesn’t mean giving up our autonomy or our individual preferences. It means that the other person understands and appreciates us for those idiosyncrasies and differences.

I can’t imagine what it’s like for those couples who are exactly the same, and how they don’t bore each other to death, but she’s so very individual from me. We approach life in two totally disparate ways, which should be constricting, but which is in fact freeing because she “gets” me in a way that no one else possibly could. She understands my frailty and she helps me get stronger without coddling me or telling me that everything will be okay, because she knows talking about things isn’t all there needs to be. I also need experience, even if it’s negative, to help solidify who I am for myself, and who I am in this relationship.

Has it really been 13 years this month since we first talked online? In the aftermath of 9/11 when everyone was evaluating and re-evaluating. And we had a lot to talk about, so many exchanges through which I realized I didn’t want to live without her, even so early on. Which is how it sometimes is when you meet the person you’re destined to spend the rest of your life with. But it’s not like a fairy tale. It can’t be. Because fairy tales have magic, and life isn’t magic. Life is a grind, but a grind that should be worth it, and we need someone to grind along with us. (You know what I mean.)

It’s her birthday today, and we aren’t like we used to be back in the beginning, when she was helping me to mold myself. Now I’m being me for me, and we have a fluid exchange that wasn’t fully there way back then. We were babes in the woods, and now we have matured into ourselves, both individually and as a couple. I have the plethora of gray hairs to show for it, but that’s okay. Each one of these hairs is a reminder that I’m older and wiser, that we’re older and wiser, and I’m so pleased about that. I wouldn’t trade them in for anything.

And she’s in the kitchen right now, overjoyed because of the new dishes I bought for her. Go figure. Happy birthday, sweetheart.


Unnecessary Proposal

Bruzzy's ReceptionI never actually proposed. There was no getting down on one knee, no ring in the jacket pocket, no sweaty palms in my lap waiting to pop the question and wondering what her answer would be, and definitely no long engagement where we grew old before we even got married. Instead, there was a tacit understanding between us from the beginning, actually, regarding where our relationship was going. It was almost zen-like the way we operated from the beginning, knowing each others’ thought processes and just relying on that in order to make those plans without even speaking our wishes. In fact, at one point I turned to Heidi and I asked her:

“So, we getting married or what?”

And she looked at me like I had gone out of my mind, then she smiled and said:

“Don’t be silly.”

That was it, at least until we actually went to get the marriage certificate. What might have constituted a proposal was when we both said, virtually at the same time, after she had gotten us tickets to Ireland:

“Want to get married while we’re there?”

Seriously, too, it was almost at the exact same time, like a pastel pink lightbulb had gone off over her head at the same time that another one in matching pale blue went off over mine. And that was it. We were getting married. Continue reading “Unnecessary Proposal”

I Know I Love My Wife

Do you remember that Chris Rock movie, I Think I Love My Wife, where he doesn’t appreciate what he has at home until it’s almost too late? Honestly, if it was me waiting on him to turn it around and stop skirt chasing, I would have been gone. Of course, though, by the end of the film he finally has his priorities straight, and she forgives him. As viewers we need to have that happy ending, and while life doesn’t always work out like that, it sometimes does. And I am really glad for they fact, personally.

I met a woman in 2001, or at least I started talking to her that year. On Halloween, to be exact, she sent me the first of what would turn out to be over 1500 email messages between us. And it all began because of a band, the band Live. Maybe you remember them. They had a couple of hits with Lightning Crashes and I Alone back in 1994. So this woman, she and I are huge fans of this band, and we were on the internet mailing list for them (now defunct). One thing led to another and we fell in love. Online.

When we finally met in person, in March of 2002, it was all butterflies and cotton candy flutters. I flew to upstate New York all the way from Tennessee. My mother was worried that this woman might be some sort of serial killer, but I was just thinking, “What if she only likes my words, and not my physical appearance?” and “What if we just don’t connect as much in person as we do online?”

It was all quite a whirlwind, but I needn’t have worried. Sure, we were both awkward and unsure of out standing with each other for, like, a minute, but soon we were as good in person as we ever were online. And after a couple of days together, we were even more dynamic in person. Sadly, though, I had to go back to Tennessee because I had to finish out the school year. Parting was such sweet sorrow, for both of us. We both knew by then that this was it. That I was “the one” for her, and that she was “the one” for me.

And that has stood the test of time, and a lot of testing was done, believe me. Because that woman, on May 20th, 2003, did me the honor of becoming my wife. She stood by me when I first moved up here and had nothing. She supported me through finishing up my college courses, through finding a job, and through losing my job. Now, I don’t usually talk about her on the blog, but only because she values her privacy, and I appreciate that, but it’s that time of year and she doesn’t mind if I share right now. Unlike Chris Rock in the aforementioned film, I don’t just think I love my wife. I know I love my wife, and that’s a huge difference.

I know I love my wife because she has an amazing sense of self. She knows who she is, which is a lot to be said for anyone, a rare trait indeed. It always seems to me that the people who think they know themselves are the ones who are furthest from the truth about who they are. So, my wife is unique, but not just in this way.

I know I love my wife because she gets me.

I know I love my wife because she has as wacky a sense of humor as I have. However, while I have a wry, self-effacing type of humor, hers tends to be witty, without being high-brow.

I know I love my wife because she gets me. When I’m at my worst, she understands, and when I’m at my best she doesn’t shut me down. If there’s one thing that damages marriages today, it’s the disconnect between spouses. But my wife knows when I’m down, even if I don’t. And she gets me to talk about my issues so they don’t grow into even bigger ones that put a drain on not only me, but on us.

I know I love my wife because she’s incredibly creative. She can do something with anything, and create everything. Did you follow that? Simply put, she is a wizard with scrapbooks, she can write amazingly well, and she can manipulate things to make them work, even if it seemed like an impossibility before.

I know I love my wife because every single time I look at her, I get those same butterflies…

I know I love my wife because every single time I look at her, I get those same butterflies, those same cotton candy flutters. When she’s near me I know it, even if she’s somewhere I didn’t know she would be. It’s like a sixth sense in that way. When she touches my hand, I feel warm, even if her hand isn’t. And when it’s time to go to sleep, I like to hold her close until I drift off, so my dreams will be sweet ones.

I know I love my wife because it’s the most natural feeling in the world, and I always want to feel that way. With her.


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