Anniversaries …

The reminder came like a … like a … um, simile. The reminder arrived like a reminder of other times when something forgotten was brought up by others.

Worse, it wasn’t much of a reminder. I am a certain age, 16,984 days as of 6:37 p.m. tonight, so almost every single day of the week offers the anniversary of one thing or another it seems. Another one hit today. A bigger and better one tomorrow.

Today is the 9,132nd day-versary of my college graduation. In less self-consciously cheeky terms, today is the 25th anniversary of Commencement Day for the Class of 1990 at Marist College. After four years, my fellow Red Foxes and I left the den.

This was not an anniversary that I had recorded on my calendar; a fellow Marist Collegian remarked on the day’s meaning on social media. I am aware that there will be a reunion later this year; I saw my best friend from that era a few weeks ago in NYC. But today …

Today is also the fifth anniversary of my girlfriend becoming a lawyer, and tomorrow is our third anniversary as a couple, as JenandMark.

I spotted her a few weeks before May 20, 2012. I was sitting in a room with friends, some mutual to her, and she walked in. This thought immediately passed through my mind, but without words, just on the other side of words: “She is going to be important to me.” At that time, if she had lent me five dollars, she would have fulfilled that thought; I could have used five bucks at the time. (I had not yet been “awarded” disability by Social Security.) Neither before nor since has a similar feeling-thought come to me like that, like information I already had. Like a reminder of times yet to come.

She shared with us how she was through with dating as of … I think she even looked at her watch. My heart sank even though my brain was not on board. (“Dude, you have no money, no job, no prospects and you think a woman like her is going to be interested? Where’s your ‘Feel Bad for Myself’ inner voice? Do I have to do all the work here?”) After a couple more mutual friends meetings I asked for her … Facebook page. We started to instant message each other. She sent me her phone number.

Thanks to social media, almost every word she and I wrote to each other back then at the very start is recorded. Probably to my eternal chagrin. Three years ago tomorrow, instant messaging and phone calls gave way to a life together.

Happy 25th anniversary, fellow members of the Class of 1990! Happy work anniversary, Jen! Happy anniversary to us tomorrow …

‘No Wicked Grin’—John Hiatt
I can see by your tears
With all of the years
You still hear the call of the blue

 
And I can see by your face
It’s a lonely old place
You’ve gone and gotten into

 
I’ve got this smile
I’ve had for a while
It ain’t exactly brand new

 
It’s no wicked grin
It’s good and worn in
And I’d like to give it to you

 
Through trouble and pain
Through wind and through rain
I think it will fit you just right

 
When you gave it to me
I couldn’t be free
Now I’m standing right here in your light

 
And when your life’s upside down
It might look like a frown
Depends on how you wanna see

 
So here’s lookin’ at you
And when I’m upside down too
It looks like you’re smilin’ to me

 
I can see by your tears
With all of the years
You still hear the call of the blue

 
And I can see by your face
It’s a lonely old place
You’ve gone and gotten into

 
I’ve got this smile
I’ve had for a while
It ain’t exactly brand new

 
It’s no wicked grin
It’s good and worn in
And I’d like to give it to you

* * * *
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7 comments

  1. camparigirl · May 19, 2015

    I experienced the same feeling when I first spotted Sue, aka sofagirl, when I walked into the office where we ended up working together. I knew she would be important to me. Twenty years later, we are still best friends. May this be a good omen for your relationship!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · May 21, 2015

      Thank you for your encouragement! A couple months after Jen and I started dating, I told her what I wrote above; I had realized the nature of the intuitive thought, “She’s going to be important …,” and that it is a different thought from what had been my usual “I hope she will be important” desires. So I told her that my first thought had been, “She is going to be important.” She started to cry. She told me that she had had a dream when she was a girl that a man would say those words to her someday.

      Like

  2. Martha Kennedy · May 19, 2015

    This is beautiful.

    As are these lines, “I can see by your tears
    With all of the years
    You still hear the call of the blue”

    It puts me in mind of a poem by Paul Valery (my poor translation…)

    Patience dans l’azur
    Paul Valéry

    Ces jours qui te semblent vides The days you seem empty
    Et perdus pour l’univers Lost in the universe
    Ont des racines avides (your) greedy roots
    Qui travaillent les déserts That work in the deserts
    […]
    Patience, patience, Patience, patience
    Patience dans l’azur! Patience in the blue!
    Chaque atome de silence Each atom of slience
    Est la chance d’un fruit mûr! Is the chance for a ripe fruit!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · May 21, 2015

      I wonder if John Hiatt knows he echoed Paul Valéry. He may very well.

      “Travaille” makes work sound so much less like work. That is an amazing eight lines there. Thank you, Martha.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Martha Kennedy · May 21, 2015

        You’re very welcome. I love especially the final four lines since most of what I’ve done in my life seems absolutely pointless and it all requires patience!

        Like

  3. loisajay · May 20, 2015

    Happy Anniversary to you and Jen! Don’t sell yourself so short, Mark.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · May 21, 2015

      Thank you, dear friend. I try not to. I try without being trying.

      Like

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