Monday, February 22, 2016

On Life Sentences || A Marriage Letter

Dear Jason,


We're eight episodes deep in Making a Murderer and have found ourselves invested in the fate that Steve Avery faces. We worry justice won't be served because all odds are against him. We are aching for him to be exonerated, but we know the world doesn't promise us anything. And as much as we wish for Steve to be free, we constantly talk about how his nephew, Brendan. 

We know Brendan isn't the brightest bulb. We yelled as he was interrogated for four hours. We talked over the mishandling of his minor self. We threw our hands up when he admitted to guessing what the cops wanted to hear in his confession because we wanted more for him. We wanted to warn him of the life sentence he was signing up for unknowingly. 

And yet, we were just like him. We married at the ripe age of 22, just a few months after I finished college. We married with little to no life experience and a heaping load of faith in the process. We walked down that aisle with smiles on our faces and heavy-beating hearts. We promised wild things like sickness and health, poverty and wealth. We kissed and communed as husband and wife just before we danced through the night. We were brave and prepared, confident in the bond we shared, but we didn't know.

We had no clue about the answers we were hoping to be in one another's lives. We were ignorant of the trials those first years would hold. We smiled and hoped we could say the right thing at least a couple of times. We had the house and dog and kids behind a white picket fence sort of dreams. We set timelines and goals and missed more than we accomplished. We guessed how to be a husband and wife, sometimes throwing hands up in annoyance of our wrong answers. 

We agreed to a life sentence. We said yes to waking up next to one another for all the rest of our time. We nodded and thought of the meals and miles and homes we would share. We promised to hold and to cry and to laugh as a team. We imagined every romantic comedy in the script of our marriage. And then, we learned that our life sentence holds stomach flus and bacterial infections and sad days and even death. 

We learned that with love comes loss, with health comes illness, with naivety comes wisdom. We learned that there's garden beds and hospital beds and death beds in store. We learned the promises we made were hard to keep and yet, we dedicate ourselves to the cause every morning. We learned we're just as dim as Brendan, sometimes just guessing which way to head next. And, in knowing that, we're thankful to be a pair in this sentence we're serving. 

I'm so blessed to be your cellmate. You're more than I deserve and then some. 

Yeah? Yeah. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This letter is one in a series of letters I write to remember mundane moments of my marriage that would otherwise slip away. I write with a dedication to hold tight to him and to remember how life looks right now at this very moment. The chance for these letters to shed light on our marriage before children for our children because they won't know us as newlyweds is a much loved and added bonus.

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