Today marks exactly two years since I first kissed the woman I would subsequently share my life with.
Born of a cocktail of chance, heart and insanity at Kotoka International Airport, that kiss was when our companionship began. Sure: we celebrated a year of being married a few weeks back. But (though beautiful as it was important) our wedding was merely social validation for something we already held true. I know I still owe everyone an explanation (incoming) for what made me ‘change my mind’ about marriage. For those who can’t wait, let me sum it up in a word:
I learned the meaning of divorce at the age of 7. A year or two later, I told my grandmother that I would marry as soon as I turned 18. My mother had just moved my brother and I from London to Cape Coast and I had already heard about people having problems abstaining from something called ‘sex before marriage’ (or as we kids called it, ‘Oh James!‘ because that’s what Bond Girls always exclaim before the screen faded to black). Early marriage seemed the obvious solution to my purity-culture-indoctrinated mind. I remember how hard Grandma laughed, but I did not care: I was going to marry as soon as I could. Years later, I – of course – discovered that there are other variables to the damn thing.
So many variables.
Today, I remember all the people who dismissed me as not serious (or worse). People who thought I was waiting for perfection. All the advice (“don’t be so scared of divorce” and “expand your horizons: you’re expecting too much from just one woman” still stand out). I remember trying (to the point of tears) to make relationships work. The agony of defeat when they didn’t. With regret, I remember hearts broken. And I remember eventually locking my heart in a box so it would stop hurting people. People including myself.
All these things exist in a nebulous time in my life that I will henceforth refer to as ‘Before Meeting Her’.
‘After Meeting Her’ on the other hand has been a period marked by a daily kind of joy. Two years is too short a time within which to celebrate a relationship. I’ve always looked with immense skepticism at young couples publicly celebrating their love (with beautifully orchestrated and posed-for pictures) on social media. My awe is reserved for grandparents who still laugh with each other after years of love and struggle, the way my step-grandparents did (before Grandpa left Mamaa – and all of us – a few years back). Years from now, I hope Shari and I still get in the car to go to events, only to turn around because we would much rather just spend time laughing in each other’s company. I hope that we are still as comfortable with each other as we are now, sharing everything from finances and duties around the house. And Love. I hope we remain awash in it.
Two years into this thing we have, I am thankful.
Possibly the warmest person I have ever met, Shari is a force; one who daily shifts my life’s motion towards light. She is better than me at so many things. She reads and plans and hoards and curates. She has a better ear for music than I do, and this weird ability to absorb a song after one listen, forcing us to be VERY CAREFUL about what we listen to, lest a maddeningly annoying song gets stuck in her head for days on end. She is a professional I have much to learn from, only just beginning to understand the extent of her potential: the kind of person who receives compliments graciously but has yet to believe them.
This is the woman I’m lucky enough to love.
(Photos courtesy of Sena Kpodo)