The Other I

July 26, 2011

Under the table

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 7:27 pm

Peter and I remembered our wedding anniversary this week.  We don’t always, because the day we decided to live together seems like the real beginning.

It certainly was for me.

Since Peter was living in one bedroom and I was in a 3-bedroom apartment, we decided that the obvious place for us to live together was where I already was.  He arrived, as agreed, with most of his essential belongings after we both got home from our various university classes.

We had a celebratory drink together, and then I panicked.

OMG, I thought, what am I doing?  “I think I might have changed my mind,” I said out loud.

Peter stared at me in disbelief.  He’d given up his own room.

“All right,” he said, pouring himself another – stiff – drink.  “I’ll use the couch tonight and leave tomorrow morning.”

I went into the kitchen and sat under the table.  Sitting under the table is not a habit of mine.  In fact, I cannot remember doing it ever before or since.  But I crouched there for perhaps an hour.  Peter was in the meantime renewing his drink(s).

It took me an hour to realize I was being a fool.  This was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  What was I doing?

The first thing I had to do was to convince Peter to stay.  It took a lot of convincing under the circumstances but we decided to go back to Plan A.

Except that something had changed in Plan A.  Instead of being a mere arrangement, it had became a commitment.  Faced with the inevitable discoveries during the coming years that my chosen partner was also subject to various human limitations, I had a lot more room for forgiving.  I had already demonstrated even to myself that I’d been extended a lot of credit.

It was a rather painful discovery of self-knowledge.  But it’s proved seriously useful for all involved.

Tomorrow I hope to explain why we didn’t go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary yesterday.

It’s not quite as bad a sitting under the table saying I’d changed my mind.



  1. Awww….this has just become one of my all-time favorite love stories. Anyone who has the spunk and originality to crouch under a table on the “wedding night,” or to pour a drink while his beloved does so, most definitely has what it takes to survive marriage. Congratulations to both of you on the anniversary, as well a gratuitous bit of advice: why not change the date and celebrate the real beginning?


    Comment by Barbara Sullivan — February 19, 2012 @ 9:13 pm | Reply

  2. Thank you, Barbara, for understanding so well that critical Under-the-Table moment. And yes, we do celebrate it as our “real” anniversary. There is just one problem. By sheer coincidence it was Valentine’s Day. Lovely, you might say. But it’s the one day of the year when the best restaurants are booked up in advance, and flowers — like roses — sell at a premium. To further complicate matters, for years one or the other of us inevitably had an evening class to teach.

    So for many years we were casual about the exact date. But we always remembered. And, today being February 19, 2012, we have just celebrated our 39th anniversary. On time.


    Comment by theotheri — February 19, 2012 @ 9:49 pm | Reply

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