Friday, October 24, 2008

Chris and Bob 10-23



Bob and Chris are married now and I am in a plump bed overlooking the Santa Cruz board walk, having been lulled to sleep by the surf and barking sea lions and two Atavans. I drank three large cups of coffee on the road, Being an alert driver was to my advantage but having to stop to pee every half hour or so slowed me down a bit. It was a tight squeeze dropping Spuds at school at 8:30 and making it to the county courthouse in Santa Cruz by three, but even with my uncooperative bladder I was making good time until I crossed over from the 5 to the 101 via the 152 and the road was closed and I waited in a long line of cars for nearly forty five minutes. I was ultracaffinated, unfed and panic set in. My predilection has always been to drive way fast but it is one of many impulses I manage to keep in check usually and while a Volvo wagon may look like a housewife car, it actually has power. Lots. When I hit the 101, I knew I had to make up for lost time and was well aware that I was risking a ticket.

I was pulled over outside of King City. The cop was one of those really pugnacious short guys in the de rigueur mirror sun glasses. "How fast do you think you were going?" (This is a sadistic trick question) "Ah, maybe 80?" He raised his eyebrows. I told him the truth that I hadn't had any sort of ticket for over fifteen years. He said, "Well, now you got yourself a doozy." Despite my irritation of being delayed I found his use of the expression "doozy" rather quaint coming from a little cop who couldn't have been more than 30. I told him I was late for my best friends' 3 p.m. wedding in Santa Cruz and he said, "You're not gonna make it," but then he advised me that he was going to write my citation noting a speed of 80 mph although the speed I was travelling at was actually sufficient for him to revoke my license and tow my car on the spot. Tell that to those assholes who wouldn't talk trucks with me at the car show.

I actually arrived at the court house with time to change clothing and throw on some makeup in a public bathroom stall. We went to fill out the papers but it turns out that Chris's drivers license expired months ago and wouldn't serve as valid i.d. Fortunately, they allowed me, fortunate to still be bearing a current driver's license, with a neatly affixed donor sticker (and who was also able to promptly present to my CHP friend my proof of registration and insurance so although I am a scofflaw, I am a responsible adult) to sign an affidavit (it would have been cool to have been made to swear it on a bible but they didn't go that far) stating that I had known Chris Berry for 12 years, although I realized later Chris and Bob have been together nearly 15. Based on my personal experience, it takes about fifteen years to get the significant other thing to mesh with the significant self thing and I see how much better prepared Chris and Bob are to formally commit their lives than I was as a child bride in 1991.

Bob has always had a weird sort of hyper-alertness thing with numbers dates and coincidence. We used to say the word "synchronicity" a lot but we got sick of it. The dates and numbers thing and because I know that they don't need a blender, inspired me to buy a pen engraved with the wedding date of 10/23/08 for the signing of marriage documents. This active awareness of how things fit and drinking in numbers and symbols and omens is consciousness raising (a phrase I use as hesitantly as "synchronicity"). There is a strange miraculous order of things working away beyond one's control and this is comforting if you stay awake. Due to my tardiness and in an act of staggering generosity, Bob and Chris checked me in to my lovely waterfront boutique hotel and my room number is 1023. I presume that Bob had requested this room specifically but he hadn't and it was my destiny on 10-23 to witness a marriage and sleep alone, in the glaring absence of my own beloved, in room 1023.

I had made a comment on Himself's blog about a trip I made through Pescadero during college and this inspired Chris and Bob to chose the excellent and funky tavern Duarte's there for the wedding dinner. It was one of the those really good meals made even better by ravenous hunger and pure sweet joy. I knew that my beloved, home with frozen pizza would have loved the restaurant and the food and the company and the occasion, and if he had his rightful place at the table I probably wouldn't have gotten a speeding ticket. I also probably wouldn't have been able to polish off a bag of salt water taffy from the honor bar, order a ten buck pot of coffee from room service because I have no patience for those silly one cup in room coffee makers or schedule a massage for this morning but I would have given up all these indulgences to have had him standing beside me when our dearest friends made their vows.

I am sad that Himself missed this milestone and even more than my profligate indulgences, there is a peacefulness to having a short time alone. I remember being lonely and alone in hotel rooms in my travelling days. I remember being lonely and alone in my own home and in my own marriage until we learned our significant others truly could make our significant selves stronger and glorious and more significant. My mother lived most of her life alone having somehow gotten the notion that if she surrendered to love something would be taken from her and not reciprocated and leave her bereft and naked. My father and my sister were terrified of being alone. My sister desperately clung to relationships that demeaned and exploited her and I think my poor dead Sheri may have felt like dirt, bereft and naked and was magnetically pulled to liaisons that would reinforce this. I like this hotel room and I like the sound of the waves and I am alone here but the voice in my head is not a lonely one.

From here I'll go to Chris and Bob's in Mt. Hermon and I will walk in the redwoods and make dinner and complain about their kitchen. I will sleep alone again and wake to light streaming through the redwoods. Bob and Chris are married now. Tomorrow I will return to Casamurphy and the brilliant, curious, sweet, open man who honors me and wants to spend his life by my side. Married.
Shabbat Shalom

3 comments:

FionnchĂș said...

Enjoy yourselves, y'all. I deeply miss you three. Buen provecho and many happy returns, Jungian and not Freudian. Should that not be "the absence of my glaring husband"? xxx me

Chris Berry said...

Layne,

Much to the contrary of my New England dark expectations...it all worked out...And you wrote a beautiful blog entry...And we had a beautiful indian (native american?) summer day for a wedding on the levee by the might San Lorenzo River with sleeping trolls (that's SC native speak for homeless...aint it pc?) in the background...And here you walk in the door with dinner...more later...

Chris Berry said...

We missed the entire clan Murphy, but hope for your attendance at a future celebration (minus marriage guidance manuals). Layne, thanks for being our witness and our example...of being open to the peaks and valleys and committed to the journey that is marriage.

I just hope you don't need to bail me out if I get busted for driving on this expired license...