Epithalamium

 

 

Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment
Shakespeare says - and maybe it is something to do with minds.
Or there again, something to do with everything else
you can think of; going to the shops, sitting in a bus together,
who you want to waken up beside in the morning,
And who you want to go to bed with - for the rest of your life.
Who you're going to have your most important rows with
who you want to share your silences, who you want to share
your money with, if you have any. Who you want to share
your poverty with, if you don't. Who you can share your poverty with,
and still get on when there's no fancy stuff to occupy your minds.
It's maybe being thirty with somebody, being forty with somebody,
being fifty, being sixty, getting used to ways of doing things
with the same person, getting used to not doing things with them
when you have to go your separate ways to raise the dough
for a house. "The trouble with marriage," I used to say,
"is you have to stop living with each other." All this up at
the crack of dawn stuff, out to your separate jobs,
who's first home at night, who makes the dinner, if anybody
makes it. And all the account business, joint or separate. And the
usual list as to who does what, ironing, hoovering, washing
the clothes. Who does what. Who's got lousy habits. Who thinks
their farts are funny. Who's the most incomprehensible, opaque,
wrongheaded pain in the arse you could ever find, and you've
found them living with you. But give it an hour. Or a day.
And watch out for the wisecracks. There's Chekhov:
"If you can't stand loneliness don't get married" and there's
no shortage of busted-up couples out there who won't bust
a gut with grief if you join them. You stick your own way. To
hell with them. It's not a sentimental thing, it's a serious thing
the most serious thing you'll ever do, if you're doing it properly
as you are. Saying it to others, before others, this is who I want,
this is where it ends and begins with me. And uniquely so.
So here's to you, Stephen and Lucy, standing at that old portal:
here's to a good road before you, and a long one,
and the two of you walking together happily, down it.

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