Among the sometimes mutually-contradictory purposes I had when starting this journal was that it be a genuine journal - a record of my life, my thoughts, and my feelings, shared with those who cared to partake but written primarily for myself.
Like so much else in my life, things didn't work out as I had intended.
I made the mistake - if mistake it was - of talking about what was going on here with real-life friends and, eventually, of providing my username not only to Laura but to various friends and even members of my family as well. Whatever ideas I had of using livejournal to create a space at once private and public, but that would nevertheless not intersect my meat-life had gone the way . (Arguably, meeting missnegativity in person more than a year ago now was the pebble dislodged that led to the inevitable collapse of the dam of my impossible desire to have my privacy and share it too.)
Since I gave Laura my username way back when, I have more than once contemplated creating another journal on lj, or somewhere else - and using that space to be utterly free to say what I wanted without the social concerns of how my words might impact others.
In fact, since then, I have created another livejournal - possibly two of them. I've created accounts on greatestjournal.com, deadjournal, xanga, and even - in a moment of drunken optimism (that had only a very little to do with a desire to see pictures of naked ladies) - blew 30 bucks or so on a subscription to suicidegirls.com, to name a few I can think of off-hand.
I've never used any of them; the accounts sit like Schroedinger's Budda, contemplating precious server space doing me no good at all.
All of which is appropos of nothing in particular, but I felt like discussing it.
I called my insurance company yesterday, to get Laura officially installed as my "partner" or "spouse" or "common-law wife" - though not yet Federal law, the terms are, according to Sunlife, interchangeable.
Much to my surprise, the call took maybe 2 minutes from punching in the first number to disconnect. 45 seconds to ring through and enter the extension, a minute and a quarter to explain my purpose, despite telling the agent that Laura was born on January 6, 2005. ("That would be illegal," quoth the agent. "And pretty close to impossible," I added before correcting my mistake. "January 6, 1987.")
It's been 3 weeks or so since Laura moved her stuff in, 2 weeks after she had been, de facto, staying here anyway.
She's due for a dental check-up and we both need to know she's covered in case anything terrible happens. She's in school and without a job, so financially dependent on me for the time being. (Not the ideal state of affairs for either of us, but we've agreed it makes sense she has the time to concentrate on school; June isn't that far away in any event.)
And so, here we are. Living together. Co-habiting. Married, for all intents and purposes. Next April, whether she is still with me or not, even Revenue Canada will say we're married. Common-law, yes, but I have declared she is my partner and I don't think there's any turning back.
Almost without noticing it, I am no longer single. I am a ... husband.
No ceremony, no party, but here we are ... living together, "as man (sic) and wife."
Maybe now I understand better the (near) universality of marriage as a rite. Even today, with little or no social sanction against the divorced, there is a significant difference between breaking up with one's girl (or boy) friend and leaving one's spouse.
Whether we like it or not, for all intents and purposes, we are married. I am married.
It's a very strange feeling.
And - though we've been involved for more than a year - and committed to monogamy for almost that long - the new situation feels almost as though it crept up on me by stealth, as though I suddenly awoke from a fugue to find myself in this novel situation.
Married. Coupled. Partnered.
Don't get the wrong idea. I don't mind. In fact, I am more than happy about this turn of events. I love Laura - without a hint of hyperbole, I can honestly say that each passing day only deepens the intensity with which I use that phrase. She makes me laugh, and think, and holding her and kissing her is like a mystic's encounter with the divine, like a daily prayer, answered.
But I digress.
Without ritual, our situation doesn't quite feel real. Or, perhaps more accurate, without ritual, it feels like something that happened to me, rather than something I sought out. Without ritual, commitment feels more tenuous as (I think) it otherwise might.
(I keep having the urge to call the members of my extended family to make the announcement: I. Am. Married.)
As I said, it is an odd feeling, though the facts themselves bring me only joy (and the concommitant anxiety that that joy might someday end. Among even the most likely couples, break-ups happen. Among even the most devoted lovers, the thrill of the new can lead to broken promises and broken hearts. Into even the deepest love boredom can descend, like a bank of clouds on a once-sunl-bright day.)
I have passed my 40th birthday. Laura has passed her 18th. Going by only those facts, it is natural that I fear she will change, that she will decide I am not, after all, what she was looking for.
Thank god there is more to life than chronology ...
I don't dance and (mostly) never have. For those of you who wondered, the swing-dance lessons were an unmitigated disaster. We missed the second class and I at least never came close to catching up (I suspect Laura might have, had she not been saddled with me as a partner). By the fourth or fifth - in any case, the last - I found myself in the horrible situation of trying to practice what I had learned during the first session while studiously ignoring everything the instructor was teaching everyone else.
When we asked for a little attention, she told us, "I can't help you - I have 11 [yes: 11!] other people to teach." Nevertheless, she deigned to provide maybe 3 minutes of individual tutoring, while her assistant danced by herself in the center of the room.
Yes, I should have blown up right there and demanded my money back, but ... well, I didn't.
But we didn't go back the next week, nor any subsequent weeks. A pity. I'd still like to learn. But, since this past Saturday, not as much as I did before.
Laura, as an alumni of a bartending course she took during the winter found herself invited to a club on Adelaide.
Now, I don't do dance-clubs. I don't club, or go clubbing. I am a sit in one pub and quaff pitchers of the same beer while solving the world's problems kind of guy.
I had been "dancing" in years, probably more than a decade. And I place the word, dancing, in quotations, because on those rare occasions I venture into a land of booming bass and sweating, gyrating bodies, I almost never actually danced. Rather, I would hang out at the bar, watching the floor and wondering why some beautiful (or even not-so beautiful) woman didn't take my hand and lead me to a sensual nirvanna.
Well, Saturday was different. I was with someone - and with someone I wanted to impress.
Though I warned her I might revert to my normal behaviour, when we passed by the bouncers (Laura smug that she had - again - not been carded, and sexy as hell in short skirt and top that required constant attention not to be obscene, I steeled myself to try.
And within 5 minutes of the coat-check, she saw me grin, and returned it saying, in effect, "I'm so glad you're having a good time."
And I was. I won't take the music home, but it did its job. I was bouncing, and grinding, and the love of my life was in my arms and I wasn't making an ass of myself. We might have been a spectacle, but neither of us cared, and for 3 or so hours we sweated and writhed and celebrated in true Bachanalian style the pleasures of the flesh, the pleasures of sight and of sound and of touch. Pure, sensual joy, not sex but like sex, while being something else (almost) entirely.
Instead of abstract observations, I came away with nothing but the taste of my lover's mouth and the feel of her body pressed close to mine, three hours that might as well have been three days, of pure enjoyment.
I am a better man for it. Thank you, Laura.