Not only to fly, but to bring the world's eyes...skyward.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Polaris

We Western guys have made quite a reputation for ourselves over the eons for the things we'll do for the love of a woman. Every age sees us find some new way to make a big, bold, sometimes eminently public statement meaning, and invariably ending with, the same two truly magical words: "marry me." When I was a kid a guy couldn't go wrong with getting a radio DJ to dedicate a song to his girl, or, if he had the money, he might be able to find a pilot to tow a banner overhead or skywrite a message for her. I'd bet my next paycheck no one ever paid for anywhere near 140 characters. Today we have athletic and entertainment venue billboards and, for those of us less well-connected, the internet.

It only seems to happen in the movies, but I suppose there has to have been a few guys over the years who've either lost, or come really close to losing, the love of their lives and done something huge, even if only in the most deeply personal context of their relationship, to get her back. Like, take out the trash without being asked, for example.

But seriously, I think the couples who manage to stay couples never get to that point because they have, or find, ways to keep from taking each other for granted. Enter yet another blessing my flying career provides. Every week, I have to say goodbye to my love, for several days, and return to the singular lifestyle I was never really that hot about for the first twenty-eight years I lived it. I often relish the peace and quiet (it does wonders for my writing), but I always miss my friend.

While trying in vain to sleep on my break high over Paraguay one night in May, I kept returning to an audio program of classic movie themes, some of which took me back, in my semi-lucid state, to the days of my youth when they were popular.

As my friends and family know, I never went through a "wild oats" phase. I've always adored women but I could never pick (on) more than one "favorite" at a time. I jokingly tell people I started looking for a wife about the time I outgrew my Big Wheel, but it's not far from the truth. If you don't' believe me, my first fiancé (from first grade!), now just my dear friend Tisha Brady, will back me up.

Listening to the themes from Arthur, Superman, An Officer and a Gentleman, Ghost, When Harry Met Sally, and Beaches, I remembered like it was yesterday the longing I'd had for one girl after another as those hormones worked their magic. It occurred to me that if I could put any one of those songs on the radio right then, perhaps prefaced by one of Casey Casem's trademark Long Distance Dedications, or, better yet, just click my heels three times and wake up in my living room, then just stop what I was doing, pull my wife to me, and dance with her the way I'd have died to all those years before we met, I would. But I was 4000 miles away—six of them being vertical.

Sadly, the distractions of Life and Parenthood rather effectively keep such moments from happening spontaneously, organically, magically, the way they so easily and frequently did when we were young—even if only in our starry-eyed "Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So" daydreams. So if, as we must, we're going to nourish our relationships with such indulgences, they must be planned, which is, admittedly, a big-time buzzkill.

Enter yet another blessing my so-called writing career provides: it does take two to tango (or just stand there holding each other, shifting our weight from foot to foot and s l o w l y turning circles, like what every generation since the 1960's has called "dancing"), or to successfully dedicate a song that's on the radio for perhaps three minutes, but I can tell the blogosphere how much I love my wife and my life with her all by myself, and, sooner or later, she'll get the message.

To dedicate, or call just one song "ours," would be quite a task for a music lover like me, and even music and lyrics are, at best, still imperfect means of communicating emotion, so I'm not going to bother. Instead, I'm just going to say that my wife and I are having a milestone anniversary this year, albeit a year late.

We met on this date in 1998, married a year later, and have been each other's best friend since the magical week in between when we discovered that there's something between us that makes what we both previously called love seem a sideshow. If, as the song goes, love's a rollercoaster, then I'd have to say what we have's the real estate on which the damned thing's built: solid, level, immovable; hidden in plain sight from all but the very few who know what was there before and what will remain.

We're waking up in Miami on our anniversary this year, but that night I'll finally get to pick her up and take her "into the night." What we'll do in Rio the next couple of days is not yet a memory, but I know a few dances are overdue.

If I could fly

I'd pick you up

I'd take you into the night

And show you a love like you've never seen

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Happy Anniversary, baby

Got you on my mind

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