This is another one of those “write it down so it can be read to me when I’m old and demented” posts. A sketch. Something about how much I’m willing to say.
On April 1, 1989, I married the love of my life.
It was a comedy wedding from start to finish, fitting because of who he was. Fitting because of the day, April Fools.
It started with a Stooges *POP* through a small door by his 2 best men. The minister joined in every chance he got, with some silly comment. During our vows to each other Tom looked deeply in my eyes and said “Michele…..may I call you Michele?”. We recessed to the strains of The Theme to Jeopardy…our song. I was willi
ng to play along with almost anything, but I did thwart him in one of his comedic genius ideas . When the minister turned us to face the guests and to formally announce us as Mr. and Mrs., Tom wanted us to have on Groucho noses and glasses. I drew the line, firmly explaining to him that I would not have the first picture of us as a newly married couple in Groucho gear.
He did tell his sister the story though, and at one point during the reception we heard a ruckus on the dance floor and looked to discover his entire family (a LOT of people) all wearing Groucho faces. I do have one picture of us taken at the reception with them on; he loved that picture and, secretly. so did I.
What a great day that was, funny and fun and amazing in the way things are when you get to do them with your best friend and lover. We stayed in town a couple days with his family and then took off for our honeymoon in London. LONDON? We couldn’t afford it, but hey,what are credit cards for, right? And it was our HONEYMOON, and it was spectacular.
Obviously April 1st brings up a lot of feelings for me. The first year I went away, took myself to a beachside hotel for the weekend and wrote and cried and walked on the beach and began to believe it was all true. The next 4 years, well, I don’t really remember what I did. I imagine I did what I did then, I wrote and cried and believed it and drank away the pain, or tried to. Last year it was 2 days after my friend Glenn died. I was 12 days sober, in shock, sad and white-knuckling the need to drink it away. It wouldn’t have helped; by then no amount of drinking worked and I had finally understood that and decided to quit. But I know I wanted to drink more than anything in the world, and I didn’t. I remember a hint of satisfaction, a hint of pride and a huge amount of surprise that I didn’t succumb in the midst of the one-two punch that was landed in those few days.
And now it’s the 7th anniversary I’ve spent without him. I’m sober over a year and the thought of a drink is laughable, because it can’t touch the feelings. The thing is, the feelings are different. There is sad, but there is a lot of happy in here. I was laughing earlier looking at the Groucho picture and remembering the day. It’s fun to write this all down. It’s sweet to remember, no killer pain, but certainly killer memories.
But here’s the real thing I want to write, to remember. I have always gotten what I call “winks” from Tom. I have always believed that they were from Tom, messages. I have no idea where he is or why he isn’t here, but things happen and I choose to believe that he is saying hi, sending love. That belief makes me happy. Maybe one day I’ll write all that I can remember, but they’re hard to remember because they are so personal and so in the moment. Little examples are opening a drawer I’ve been in a million times since he died and finding a Valentine’s day card. On Valentine’s day this year. Going to the Dresden Room for drinks and to see Marty and Elayne (the worst singers in the universe). I was with a date who just did not get the fun of the horribleness of this, and I was thinking desperately about Tom and how much he would have LOVED this since finding awful singers at piano bars was a favorite pastime of his. Suddenly, Marty bounds onto the stage saying he had a special request for a song and they launch into a perfectly hideous rendition of Michele.
There’s been a million of them.
Tonight I am sitting home alone playing Words with Friends and cleaning the office. I need more distraction than this though so I decide to listen to a speaker tape (AA speakers to listen to for your own private little meeting). I pop on one, randomly, because it had a lot of stars on the sights rating system. It was great, a sad and hysterically funny story. At one point there was a particularly poignant moment and the speaker cried. I cried too, it was very moving and I am so close to tears anyway because I’m thinking of Tom. And then, to get out of the emotion and bring himself back into the talk, the speaker, out of nowhere says “Hey, how ’bout them Vikings”. SO random.
And I am breathless, because that was Tom’s favorite non-sequiter, being that he was from Minnesota and he loved the Vikings. He used that line to fill holes in conversation, to bring himself back, to be silly.
No one gets to tell me that wasn’t a wink. A love message. A “Happy Anniversary sweets” love letter from wherever he is to wherever I am.