I recall many, many years ago when one of my close friends bantered with me about why Anna chose and married me, he jokingly said, "Because she's blind, dumb and in coma." Those words broke none of my bones or spirit but it lingered with me no less like still waters running deep. Recently, those words bubbled up and I had a good laugh about it. It then dawned on me that my friend has got a point - albeit a blunt one.
So, let me count the ways Anna loves me by expanding on what my friend once said:-
1) Blind. This is not to be taken literally of course but my friend does have a point about this form of shortsightedness. You see, Anna was 16 when I set eyes on her and she was to me a goddess. A virgin goddess. I was 21 then. And I was a train wrecked. No kidding. I may be a virgin but I was gory. If a match made in heaven would to be superficially measured by physical appearances, and only that, I would not even make it at the doorway. The metrosexual bodyguards and fashion police would have made sure of that. It is said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and for some, the beholding is quite universal. Some beauty is quite universal like Anna's. Her long hair to her coccyx bone and her sharp features - not to mention her svelte body and charming, deep-seated eyes - all conspired to make me look like an old toad trying for a piece of the heavenly swan's succulent meat. Jarring direct translation notwithstanding. So the writings are all on the wall from day one and till today. We are definitely not a physical match. This is not an exercise in self-pity mind you. It is in fact an exercise in accepting and moving on with reality. Full stop.
2) Dumb. Well, character wise, she picked the short end of the matching-stick. Here's how it all tally up (or down). I was quite arrogant. I sometimes talked down to her and she is always showing deference to me (unless of course if she is pissed). But her anger doesn't go down with the sun. In the evening, it is generally sunny-side up for her. My anger is different. It is the silent, seething kind, and like quiet lava flow, it can burst with little or no poking (although I am more Zen-like now). And my god, our moods are Venus and Pluto literally. Most of the time, she is cheerful and sociable. She is the botanic gardens in our home – vibrant and lush. I am less cheerful. I am the old barking tree hidden in the gardens and all I do is to moodily provide some shades for visitors. She is also good with the kids. She is like the Mary-Poppins of children care. I am like the Ebenezer Stooge (miserly on time spent with them but generous with time spent reading and writing). I do gel with my son and elder daughter but in a contest for the children's affection, I am sure I will lose by a mile. So, if I did what Charles Darwin did when he was agonizing over whether Emma was the one for him by putting the pros in one column and the cons in another, and based strictly on that as the overriding logic in choosing his future partner, then Anna is quite dumb to have chosen me. Of course, I am using dumb loosely but loosely or not, she might have done better.
3) In Coma. Well, when you put "blind" and "dumb" together, being in a trance-like state when choosing me is the pick of the litter in explaining her strange motivation. I failed in the looks and character departments and the only thing I had going for me was the hope of a future with less of "me" and more of "her".
But then, my friend's three reasons kept me thinking about another thing altogether. This time, on a more serious note. I thought about marriage and a lifetime together. And the caveat is that this section is not for those who married into perfection. If you have found your soul-mate and her you, then skip this part. It may bore you. Soul-mates are meant to be perfect for each other, for all time. Not all are that fortunate. Anna and I however married for that crazy little thing called love and they don't call it a labor of love for nothing. Love is a tough nut to crack. It smiles at you at the altar before a crowd of witnesses, but it goes silent sometimes when the couple is embroiled in vexing life issues that shadow them when they hold sacred the covenant to commit to each other for life - come rain or shine, sleet or snowman.
I may not be perfect for Anna and her me, but together, as we work out our differences and overcome all obstacles with the endgame of love in our hearts, we are good enough for each other. It is said that perfection is an ideal for love and perfecting is the only deal in love. Anna and I have taken that deal and it was a raw deal at the start. But overtime, over the years, we are perfecting it as best as we could.
It is therefore not a fairy-tale ending of a happily-ever-after that we are, well, after. But it is no less a tale of two hearts joined as one and in this mutual spirit of marital hope and resiliency, we trust that the years will be kind to us. More relevantly, the passing years will show us the side of grace that we may have overlooked at the altar, and that is, although ours may be a union of imperfection, it is the synergy of strength and passion that will lift our marriage above the challenges of life. Cheerz.