Family Matters


The Fundamental Things: The times and tides of 33 years of marriage

November/December 2011


The day after our thirty-third wedding anniversary, my husband is putting his socks on. It’s six a.m. Up since 5:30—those who work in the public schools keep farmers’ hours—he’s already showered and selected what he’s going to wear. Only one light in the bedroom is lit against the pre-dawn September morning.

I’m up too, sort of. I had a restive night, falling into my deepest sleep between the alarm going off and now. I’m trying to hold on to the fragments of my most recent dreams, to remain in that suspended state, to keep the endless list of chores—pay the AmEx bill, pick up the prescriptions, email that report—from unscrolling like endless movie credits.

How many mornings have I studied the curve in David’s back? How many times have I smiled to myself at the way his mouth hangs slack as he ties his shoes, as if the task requires attention beyond his mustering? As he loops his belt on, I remember how Jake, our younger son, used to pad into our room about now to help Daddy with the buckle. How many times, I wonder, have we made love? (If anyone could calculate this accurately, David could.) For 34 years, we’ve been faithful, if you don’t count a few extracurricular kisses here and there on both sides, the memory of the actual faces and lips, even the circumstances, once so forbidden and thrilling, fading into dusty, dry oblivion.

As he pulls up the window shades before going downstairs to make breakfast, I see that the sky is as crystalline as the day of…

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1 Comment

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 10:28:08 PM | posted by Barry Ginsberg
This is a sensitive and touching acknowledgment of what it means to be married, its beauty and difficulties. Ms Israeloff conveys so wonderfully what it means to love in a mature marriage. After 50 years of marriage, it resonates with me. I plan to share this with all the couples who come to me.

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