I’m sure almost no one remembers this, but ten years ago today on September 7, 1996, I got married. Being 34 years old now, I feel somewhat younger, when I realize that I got married 10 years ago. It didn’t last 10 years, of course, but with my memory for dates and events, and with a diary that goes back more than 10 years, I couldn’t resist mentioning it here. I went back to my diary and read the entry for that day. There were a few things that I forgot. For instance, I forgot that our first song was “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”. But I remembered that our last song was, predictably, “Last Dance”. We were married outdoors at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, California on a beautiful Saturday. In my diary I noted, “there were more bugs flying around than I remember any time before.” I also noted that “the biggest problem we had all day was with the tuxedos. My tux was missing a suspender clip, Dad’s tux had the wrong pants… Rich’s tux was missing a zipper on his pants…”
Tawnya and I have been divorced for several years now although we have remained friends. I find it amusing that people sometimes pretend past relationships (even long ones–Tawnya and I were together for a total of 14 years) never existed. They perform some kind of mental reconstruction of the past. My diary won’t allow me to do that, of course. But I wouldn’t want to. History is what it is. And to distort it or ignore it only does harm to yourself. “Forget the past” is a silly phrase. The past is where our experience comes from, good or bad. To me, hiding it or pretending it doesn’t exist smacks of shame. I don’t think either of us have anything to be ashamed of. The relationship ran it’s natural course. There were good times, and there were tough times. C’est la vive.
After Grandpa died, someone at his memorial told me that he always felt that we got married too young. This surprised me. He had never said a word to me about this. But really, what is too young? We were both 24 years old at the time, which seems young now, but reading through my diary for the months surrounding the wedding, I sound just as mature as I feel I am now (that may not be saying much). I won’t say that I question the value of society pushing the notion of “life long” relationships completely. But it seems to me that some relationships have a course that they run; sometimes that course lasts decades and other times, it lasts months and there is no blame one way or the other. (My friend Jim always jokes about his marriage to his first wife, which, as he puts it, “lasted less than a baseball season.”) I think we put a lot of pressure on people to “keep it together” when the circumstances are more or less arbitrary. Of course, when kids are involved, the situation is more difficult. My grandparents were married 54 years and my parents have been married just about 40 years. For a long time after Tawnya and I divorced, I felt like a failure because I compared myself to these standards. I now realize that neither of us were failures. We did the best we could. The hourglass that was our relationship simply had less sand than others. It ran dry sooner. Every hourglass is different.
Incidentally, we were married on September 7, 1996 because it was the anniversary of our first date, seven years before, on September 7, 1989, when we went to the movies to see the terrible movie, Millennium starring Kris Kristopherson. What were we thinking!
On a lighter note, in going through my diary for this entry, I came across an entry from September 9, 1996, when was our first night on the cruise ship for our honeymoon. The first line of that day reminded me something I completely forgot about: “11:11 PM. I’ve had 2 full glasses of champagne so if my writing seems messy, well, that’s why.” I would have sworn that, until a year ago or so, I hadn’t touched alcohol of any kind since college. I guess I was wrong.