We met in driver’s training class when we were 15 and have been best friends ever since.We both passed our driving test on the first try, but I think he scored better than me. I lost points on the technicalities of parallel parking. Now, however, I am an excellent parallel parker. You learn some important skills as the decades pass.
We’ve been married for 25 years and know nearly everything about one another. That’s to be expected, after so much time.
He knows the exact amount of cream to pour in my coffee. I can predict what he’ll order off a menu, even before he’s decided himself.
He hates squash, but says nothing when it is the secret ingredient in my homemade macaroni and cheese. I am not always fond of his choice of TV programs, but try to refrain from comment when the NASA channel is on. Again.
I am aware he prefers meatloaf made with ground beef, instead of turkey. He is aware I can be somewhat of a health nut in the kitchen.
He appreciates surround sound and a high definition picture on a really big screen. I appreciate silence and a good book. He holds the remote. I do not.
We’ve traveled across the country with four kids in tow more than a handful of times. He drives. I hold the road atlas. He has a mental map in his head that allows him to get from point A to point B anywhere in the world. I hold the road atlas.
He dislikes frozen peas; I hate canned, so we agree to disagree and hardly ever have peas for supper.
We own a boat. Despite his excellent teaching skills (and extreme patience), I’ve never mastered driving it. We have needles and thread, but he never learned to sew on a button. So, he drives the boat and I sew on buttons. Everything else we share. Almost.
We were practically children when we met, and now we approach middle age together. I’m closer to him than anyone, yet part of him remains a mystery. It’s the Mars-Venus thing. Cliché, I know. Despite our nearly infinite familiarity with one another, certain bits of knowledge hang just beyond my curtain of undertstanding regarding the man I married.
I can predict many of his actions. I often know what he is going to say before he says it. Still, there are imperceptible nuances that remain unknown to my female psyche. In those moments, he is as mysterious as he is familiar.
I look at him and wonder what he sees when he gazes up at the stars – or into my eyes. What does he think about in the last moments before falling asleep at night? What do his mental maps look like? Why is surround sound so important? Does he ever wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t been in the same driver’s training class?
After all these years, I know practically every hair on his head, yet I don’t always know what goes on inside it. I’ve yet to completely figure him out. He is my mystery man.
I hope he feels the same way about me.
My husband and I have shared the births of four children, the demise of two minivans and three cats. We can whip each other in a good game of cribbage. We’ve remodeled bathrooms and designed kitchens together and called seven different locations “home.” We both like cooking and the Food channel – whether high definition or not. We’ve been poor and not so poor but we’ve always had enough to feel rich in the ways that really matter.
We both love the beach and long walks on warm days. We love old Cary Grant movies and Saturday afternoon naps. And we love each other. I best not forget that one.
After 25 years, we’re still a bit of a mystery to one another. I guess the Scooby Doo intrigue works for us.
To sum it up, my mystery man and I met in driver’s training class at age 15 and have never looked back. Well, except when we are parallel parking.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.