Journal for Christa—
Regardless of how well people know each other, once married there are always surprises. When Jay arrived at my grandmother’s, days before our wedding, I was quite taken aback upon discovering the entire back floor of his car inhabited by various potted plants he had acquired for our small efficiency apartment. I remember thinking, “Oh my, I guess he likes plants. I had no idea.” I think when I mentioned it to him, he responded something like, “You didn’t know?” and really I didn’t. I’m sure there were surprises for him on my part too.
Jay has a green thumb; I don’t. He was very organized. I’m not. He knows a lot about science. I don’t. I know a lot about literature. He doesn’t. I think out loud. He thinks internally. How interesting the surprises of learning a marriage partner—
Over the years we began to change. He isn’t as organized as he used to be, and I keep better track of a few things. I discovered if I would listen, he would talk. Basically, we learned how to take care of each other.
Now, after 34 years, we pretty much know what the other is thinking. It’s also nice that, more often than not, it’s the same thing; but every once in awhile, he’ll tell a story about himself I haven’t heard before or make a comment that causes me to look over and say, “Really?” Even though we’re alike in so many ways, my thumbs never turned green. Once a student’s parent gave me the cutest little houseplant. He stared down at it sitting on the counter and flatly addressed it: “Poor little plant. What cruel way to die—”