We Are Married
I was an expert on my first day of marriage, and today, after 1,310 days of marriage, I am not only a novice, I am the superlative of novice.
It is a fascinating vantage point, this humbled groom.
Marriage is a quiz show. I think I know the answer, but I don’t. But I buzz in anyway.
Marriage is being willing to sing “American Pie” with her at karaoke, three times consecutively.
I am the person she said she’d never marry, cigars and tattoos, rebellious. But there are no ultimatums anymore, no taboos. It amuses her that I have started wearing ascots, even with flannel shirts. I think it is her patience, her tolerance, which is in no way martyrdom. I’m insufferable at times, but she suffers me. She listens to jazz because she likes jazz clubs and jazz is the essential part of the equation, even though I know it all sounds like the same five songs to her.
She’s more into sports than I am, and when she refers to the Oakland Athletics, she uses her “we” voice. (We have a hard month ahead, she’ll say. We traded Fuld.)
You married the girl who was with you on the Fruitvale BART platform five New Year’s Eves ago. You married the girl who thinks Fred Astaire’s voice was better than his dancing.
She’s a Montanan and I’m a Californian, and if you can believe it (I can’t) we’ve never been miniature golfing together.
Marriage is buying her engagement ring at Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue, sweating karats. Marriage is not asking for her hand at Rockefeller Center because you’ve never been ice-skating before, and a proposal of marriage should not involve the risk of bodily harm.
We marry, and they ask us when we’re having children. After three years, they stop asking.
She did not want a pony growing up, and yet she plays the ponies.
Marriage is not vacationing at Circus Circus anymore, not because she’s a diva or because she grew up in a gated community, but because we can afford the Encore now, the Wynn.
Marriage is devising hilarious, crackpot, “get rich slow” schemes, such as NASCAR: the Opera. It is having a captain of dinner, and a co-captain, words we prefer to chef and sous chef and Gordon Ramsay. Our apartment is as old as Jack London, and she doesn’t like it when I grill swordfish indoors, but we have a smoker, and in addition to the salmon and gouda she loves, she allows me to smoke absurd things, such as toothpaste and herbal teas.
Marriage is not eating meat for a month because Morrissey (whom she does not like) says it’s murder. Marriage is disliking the same things, such as fireworks and loud noises and insincerity.
Marriage is still a sacrament to me, only it’s more secular now, more textured. I’m on lockdown. I’m smitten. I swoon. I swore not to be that guy, and now I am that guy. I don’t mind it; in fact I have manned up to the degree that I feel like I no longer belong to my past, that I was never a bachelor, that I was never not with her.
Marriage. You can malign it. You can quit on it. But right now—and I hope this is true on my 10,458th day at it—marriage is the kind of thing I want to blow onto my knuckles and brush against my lapel.
- Zachary Amendt, M.F.A. ’14
Amendt’s collection of stories, STAY, was published this summer by Montag Press Collective. Amendt further defines marriage with this video, To the Moon. Read Amendt's feature article on gratitude and giving.