I always believed that the secret to a lasting relationship is to keep creating reasons to keep wanting the relationship. That way, when reasons to end the relationship emerge, the reasons to hang on will continue to prevail. We've made it this far; we can go farther. At least, that's what Corinne and I lived by.
Sounds convoluted, technical, but it worked for us. Also, it opened a whole bunch of adventures; some were thrilling, others, well... A lasting relationship doesn't mean happy-happy-joy-joy after all.
There were a lot of things about Corinne that were difficult to deal with. Of course there were irritating quirks, like her cracking jokes only she understood, things like that. But the trickiest for me was her sense of time. It was always her sense of time.
And I'm not simply talking about tardiness. Yes, Corinne was also consistently late, but that's the least of it. She mixed up schedules, not just the time, but even the dates of the month. Many times, we cancelled dates, either because of a prior commitment she forgot about or because there's work to cram.
It would have been fine if it was only me dealing with that, but when it affected my friends, my parents... You can just imagine my frustration and embarrassment. Corinne kept saying sorry. Many times was it so tempting to just scream, "I don't want you to be sorry. I want you to respect the time!"
Of course I never told her that. Sandra, Corinne's best friend, would ask me why I never did. Whenever Corinne said she was sorry, she really meant it. Besides, a moment of emotional release will only lead to long-term resentment. "We've made it this far; we can go farther." That's what I kept telling myself. "If I learn how to deal with this, I can deal with anything." That's another thing I kept telling myself. We did get farther. And I did learn how to deal with anything that threatened our relationship. Inconvenient, yes. But I loved Corinne.
She dealt with my defects too. Most of my friends find me too uptight and too eager that I always come up with a Plan B. I'm practically on high alert whenever I sense something will go wrong. I take initiative. My colleagues keep telling me to trust them, but my instinct is to trust that they'll let me down. Task-hog. That's what they call me at the office. But I really just can't help it. If I'm like that at work, how much more in my personal life?
Corinne bore with that without any complaint. Though she did keep joking about it. I end up embarrassed, but I do realize that she has a point. I knew I hurt Corinne sometimes, when I bring dinner to her office. Or when I do her errands for her, just so that we can stick to the schedule.
"That's being passive aggressive," Sandra would warn me. "Watch out."
But it seemed that Corinne lived out our mantra as well: "We've made it this far; we can go farther."
And farther we did go.
People had a hard time understanding how Corinne and I were able to stay together for so long. It was actually in the pre-nup shoot that our mutual friends were betting how long we'd be keeping our relationship. With the way Corinne kept me in constant agitation with her sense of time... With the way I inadvertently guilt-tripped Corinne to no end... Some people even said our relationship was too toxic.
Only Sandra understood, in the end. Corinne and I weren't opposites. We were complementary. Her poor sense of time was intertwined with her optimism that I so much needed. My uptight nature pushed Corinne out of her complacency. As the cliche goes, we may not be perfect, but we were perfect for each other.
That's why after five years of agitation and guilt tripping, I mustered up the courage to propose. And she said yes.
That's when things became interesting. Not that Corinne was finally on time for once in her lifetime. It was the storm during the ceremony.
"I hope lightning strikes when we say our I Do's," Corinne whispered to me. And it did. A sign.
It was pouring mad when the ceremony was done. There I was, standing by the doorway. I stared at Corinne in her bridal gown.
Corinne smiled at me.
“You do realize we're exes now,” she said.
“Because we're more than what were then?” I asked. Something about finally being husband and wife allowed me to get the hang of Corinne’s humor. Corrine just laughed. The storm couldn't break her mood.
"Did you bring an umbrella?" She asked me. I shook my head. The distance between the door and the bridal car was quite a run under the rain. What are the chances I'd be unprepared? What are the chances Corinne would take initiative?
About the same chances that Corinne would be in time for her own wedding. The same chances that we'd make it this far. About the same chances as... The same chances as lightning striking Corinne down.
It should have been me. I was the one who was supposed to remember that we needed an umbrella. If I did, then...
I probably broke the record for having the shortest marriage ever. Corinne would have been so proud that this thought even crossed my mind.
But that's how it is, right? What does one get, fighting for a lasting relationship? The privilege of watching the person you love most go six feet under. Or giving the person you love most front row seats to your own exit. I’ve been reading all that you’ve been uploading here. Given what I've gone through, I don't understand why you people would make a big deal about your breakups.
Sandra thinks otherwise. She thinks Corinne and I were an inspiration to many. Short as my marriage was to Corinne, it's probably the happiest any two couples had. That's Sandra for you. Still living out Corinne's brand of humor.
Sandra's a good friend. Very much like Corinne, minus Corinne's poor sense of time. I look at Sandra, I think of Corinne.
Corinne would want me to move on. We've gone as far as we could go. But right now I just want to linger.