(This is the Actual Conversation my wife Catherine and I had on the morning following the day we got married after we’d been living together for some three years.)
“I didn’t think I’d feel so different after we got married,” I said.
“I really do.” I was sitting up in our “bed”—five old blankets that each night Cat and I rolled out onto the floor of our apartment. She was reclining at my side. “I should have said that yesterday when the pastor asked if I take you for me wife. ‘I really do.’ Heftier than only ‘I do,’ don’t you think?”
“I really do.”
“I feel like my dad.”
“Oh.” Cat had met my dad. “Is that good?”
“Well, it means I have to start chain-smoking, and being so constantly pissed off at everything that I drop to the floor from a major coronary when I’m only thirty-nine. But that was good enough for my dad, and it’ll be good enough for me. Bummer for you, though.”
She ran her hand up and down my forearm. “I don’t mind. You’re worth it.”
I lay back down beside her. Side by side we looked up at the ceiling.
“I really do feel differently,” I said. “Like Ward Cleaver—or, I don’t know, Donna Reed’s husband.”
“Hmm,” said Cat. “This doesn’t bode well for me.”
“Are you saying you don’t wanna vacuum in high heels, a dress, and pearls?”
“Have you ever known me to vacuum in anything?”
“Great! So you’ll vacuum naked?”
“Right. Cuz that’ll get our house clean.”
I took Cat’s hand. “Are we adults now?”
She silently considered her answer. “Nah,” she said. “That’s no fun.”
“So children till we die, right?”
“Right! That’s right!”
“Because what’s the Shore motto?”
“‘Fuck ‘em!’” we both said at once.
That was over thirty years ago. And we’ve been living happily ever after ever since.