The Long and Winding Road

I met Mark when I was 8. I had just finished third grade and Mark had just graduated high school. If you think that’s creepy, well, everyone does. My family had moved into the house on Garfield, across the street from Mark’s sister. Mark lived three blocks away with his brother and sister-in-law. Our families quickly became friends and, in no time, we were invited to every family gathering.
Mark moved to Las Vegas and lived there for a few years and moved back home when I was just barely a teenager. He lived across the street from me in his sister’s basement. I didn’t have a whole lot of contact with him, except to occasionally babysit for his girlfriend’s kids. Yes, I babysat for his girlfriend’s kids. I think I may have even referred to him as Uncle Mark, just like I grew up calling his mom Abuelita (and still do!)
The very first memory I have of spending time with Mark as an adult was when I was 21 and he was turning 30, we did shots of some kind of liquor on his birthday. It was sometime around then that I first realized that he had a thing for me. I had zero interest in him. He was fun to hang out with, but I was away at school, living the good life, and had no plans on settling down.
The years went on and we continued to spend a lot of time together. Mark never made a move and I never encouraged him. And then he got a girlfriend. He brought his girlfriend to my college graduation party and that was the day I realized I had a thing for Mark. They left early and I couldn’t believe that he wasn’t going to hang out with me until the wee hours of the night and talk about nothing and everything, just like we always did. He came back later (it turned out he just had to take her home) and we were the last two awake, up talking all night about nothing and everything.
A few weeks later, I told my mom that I thought I was in love with Mark. She told me I was going through a phase because all of my friends were getting married. I thought maybe she was right so I decided not to say anything. I knew that to date Mark would be to marry Mark and I wasn’t quite there yet. That whole summer and fall, we spent more and more time together, to the point that I planned on spending my weekends with him and we planned a trip to Florida after the New Year.
I bought a condo that December. The day of closing I found out that I had to bring a whole lot more money to closing and I was distraught. I’m pretty sure that that kind of “surprise” wouldn’t even get me down anymore, but back then, I spent the whole afternoon crying. As I sat there, so upset, I suddenly wanted nothing more than for Mark to be there and give me a hug. That’s when I knew that we would spend our lives together.
Mark helped me move in that weekend and he bought me wine glasses as a house warming. We had a glass of wine, then the whole bottle, then a second bottle. Memories are hazy and Mark and I can never agree on the exact way that things went down, but suffice to say, Mark FINALLY made a move (after 3+ years) and I blurted out, so awkwardly, “IloveyoubutIwannatakethingsslow.” Yeah, we were engaged five months later.
This year will be seven years that we’ve been married and I can honestly say that I can’t imagine doing this with anyone else. Do I swoon every time he walks in the room? No. Sometimes I glare at him. Sometimes I’m pretty sure the thought bubble above his head reads, “Will you please shut the F up?” We disagree on almost everything, from politics to parenting, perfectly balanced in every way.
Life has been mostly kind to us, but we’ve had our share of struggles and heartbreaks. When one of us is down, the other picks up the slack. We’re a team, with the common goal of raising productive citizens that move out of our house. And sometimes we still stay up late at night and talk about nothing and everything. And sometimes I still swoon when he walks into the room, but only if I’m especially giddy, like when I catch him reading my blog.

About jillo31

I always wanted to write the great American novel. I've come to the realization that that may not happen. Instead, I'm going to write about my life as a working mom to three boys. I figure in ten years, I won't remember what these days are like. I want to record my everyday victories and struggles.
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1 Response to The Long and Winding Road

  1. Pingback: Sold! | Hugs, kisses, and chaos.

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