Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Getting Out

That year we hardly slept, walking like inmates
who beat the walls. Every night
another refusal, the silent work
of tightening the heart.
Exhausted, we gave up; escaped
to the apartment pool, swimming those laps
until the first light relieved us.

Days were different: FM and full-blast
blues, hours of guitar "you gonna miss me
when I'm gone." Think how you tried
to pack up and go, for weeks stumbling
over piles of clothing, the unstrung tennis rackets.
Finally locked into blame, we paced
that short hall, heaving words like furniture.

I have the last unshredded pictures
of our matching eyes and hair. We've kept
to separate sides of the map,
still I'm startled by men who look like you.
And in the yearly letter, you're sure to say
you're happy now. Yet I think of the lawyer's bewilderment
when we cried, the last day. Taking hands
we walked apart, until our arms stretched
between us. We held on tight, and let go.

By Cleopatra Mathis


Written on 20 November 2005, Sunday

Today is my 33rd birthday and our 8th Wedding Anniversary (Registry of Marriages). Nothing much, no birthday cake, no exchanging of gifts, just a simple meal in a Thai restaurant near our house.

On this day 8 years ago we decided to get married. Legally, we became husband and wife. However we waited for another 4 years to hold our Chinese custom wedding. We've been together for more than 12 years. When I first met her it was in July 1993. That was such a long time ago.

We were pen-pals, our 1st date was a blind date, it was love at first sight, and she was only 18 years old and I was 20.

Unfortunately we are from two different worlds; we have different goals in life, different beliefs, different characters, different hobbies, basically we have nothing in common. But for some reasons we are comfortable with each other, but maybe too comfortable. The fire that sustains our love flickers in the storm threatening to extinguish itself.

Our marriage is in a mess. We quarrel so often that we’ve lost count. “Divorce” is a word commonly used during our quarrels. We even calmly discussed our future after the divorce, for example what we are going to do next, will we remarried, should we continue to be friends, etc. But each time just as we were about to give up, something holds us back - a touch, an apology, a kiss on the forehead, a hug, and we decided to give each other another chance.

And also for some weird reasons whenever it is close to some important dates in our lives, we start quarreling. Maybe during these periods we tend to have higher expectations of each other. It is like a curse. The last time we quarreled was on my 33rd birthday and our 8th Wedding Anniversary, 20 November 2005. Yes today. This time our marriage narrowly escaped death. It was too close, really too close.

Somehow we managed to reconcile again, but next time we might not be so lucky.

But for now, Happy Wedding Anniversary my Dear.

P.S. Did anyone of you watch The Mexican starring Brad Pitt & Julia Roberts? Their characters in the movie, well to certain extent echo our situation, especially that part when Samantha asks Jerry, “If two people love each other but they just can’t seems to get it together. When do you get to that point of enough is enough?” and Jerry answers “Never.”

(Updated on 22 November 2005)


Anonymous said...


your post touched me. I am in no position to offer advice nor comfort.
Move through this phase and whatever the outcome, your relationship will be stronger.

Bluesky_Liz said...

Happy belated birthday.

Unlike in movies, it's not in anyway comical when partners quarrel all the time, I think. I am in no position to offer any advice and have zero experience in such matters. I hope that things ahead will be better for the both of you.

Gilbert Koh said...

Happy birthday, Alson. Take care.

Fred said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Happy Anniversary, and Happy Thanksgiving. Whew!

Alson Teo said...

Move through this phase and whatever the outcome, your relationship will be stronger.

Thanks anonymous, I hope so too.

Alson Teo said...

Thanks Liz.

I’ve realized love itself is not enough to sustain a marriage. You must also learn how manage it. That’s the tough part.

Alson Teo said...

Thanks Gilbert. I will. :)

Alson Teo said...

Hello Fred, thanks.

You too have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a HAPPY NEW YEAR! :)