The Tin Anniversary
Today marks our 10th anniversary. According to sources, it’s the “Tin Anniversary”. Since we don’t really buy each other gifts, and I want nothing to do with the modern gift of diamond jewelry, I’m thinking I’ll just throw tin foil balls at him all day. Added bonus: it’ll give the cats something to play with.
In all seriousness, though, we’re both quite shocked that it’s been 10 years already. It barely feels like 5. Where did the time go?
We met on my birthday in 2004. Officially met. I’d seen him around work prior to that night, but really paid no attention to him at all. He was just another face in the crowd at work.
It was a horrible day for me. One of my favorite Aunts had just died that afternoon. I was in no mood to acknowledge my birthday, or spend any time at all with a smile on my face. The custom at work was for a manager to announce birthdays over the intercom. It was just about midnight, and I thought I’d dodged a bullet, because nobody seemed to remember. Then, as bad luck would have it, my immediate manager happened to check the calendar and realized she’d nearly missed announcing my “special” day. Right before break, no less, so it was fresh in everyone’s mind when I walked in the break-room with tears in my eyes. Bill was one of the first people to cheerfully wish me a happy birthday. I put on a fake smile, but couldn’t hide my tears.
Later that night, at lunch, the usual group of people sat in the break-room. Back then, smoking was allowed in there, so most of us ate our lunches and puffed away on a couple of cigarettes for 30 minutes. Some spent lunch in silence, some read a book, some slept (how, I’ll never know), but most of us sat around and chatted. I typically sat with the guys. I’ve always been more comfortable being “just one of the guys”, as opposed to chewing the fat and gossiping with the women.
Bill and 3 other guys were my lunch companions that night. They were all trying to cheer me up, but mostly they failed. One of them asked me how old I was, so I told them they had to guess. I don’t remember their guesses, only that they all came fairly close to my actual age. Then they all asked how old I thought they were. That’s when things became funny. I’m pretty sure I got most of them correct (or very close), but when it came time to guess Bill’s age, I was way, way off. Embarrassingly so. I looked him up and down, mulled it over in my head a bit, and guessed that he was at least 40, maybe 45. He was only 32. He took it pretty well, considering I’d insulted him so badly. What’s worse is that he was 2 years younger than me!
It’s here that I should explain that he was already well on his way to a halfway bald head, which prematurely aged him. I felt terrible, and I kept apologizing. He was so sweet about it, though, and kept feigning emotional injury. Naturally, the conversation turned to hair. I remember them talking about age and gray hair. I’d been graying since I was about 18, which naturally, I dyed to make sure I didn’t look like I was 50. Bill snarkily asked if the carpet matched the curtains. Nobody thought I’d understand what that meant. Of course I did (remember, me being more comfortable hanging around guys than women?)! I snapped back, “what carpet? I have hardwood floors!” The other guys were shocked, but Bill just laughed.
Needless to say, the conversation came to a screeching halt at that moment. The other guys were visibly uncomfortable with the direction the conversation had turned. Not because they were embarrassed to be guys acting like guys, but because here was this woman who could keep up with them, and they didn’t know how to handle it. Not Bill. He looked totally at ease, not just with the joking around, but with me, personally. I ribbed him a bit more, pointing to the gold band he was wearing on his left ring finger, and asked if his wife would be happy with the way the conversation was going. When he told me he wasn’t married, I was confused and a bit speechless. (those of you who know me know how rare that is)
From that day on, Bill and I shared our life stories with each other. Neither of us can really explain why, but we felt like we’d known each other forever. We’d talk during our breaks at work, and even on the phone outside of work. A little over 2 months later, I moved in with him. 9 months after that, we were married.
And 10 years later, we’re still very happily married and very much in love. And neither of us can explain how everything happened as fast as it did. We’ve weathered many storms together. We’ve carried each other through some of the worst moments in our lives. We’ve celebrated the good times, and mourned the losses. We’ve taught each other, and learned from each other. We’ve grown together. We discovered we’re individually much stronger than we gave ourselves credit for, but we both know that without the other, our strength wouldn’t be as great as it is when we’re together. We fiercely protect each other. And we’re each other’s soft place to land.
I can’t imagine a better husband. He’s truly my best friend. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years have in store for us! I love you, Bill, with every fiber of my being. Happy Anniversary, my love.