I’m a year shy of my 25th wedding anniversary. Twenty five years! A quarter century.
In a way, I feel like we’ve been together forever.
In another, I feel like we just got engaged.
We’re at the mid-life crisis point, the place where people realize mortality, and discontent and a slew of other things that make them buy fire engine red convertibles, and leave marriages.
I announced to my husband that this was not an option for him. “We can’t get divorced, no matter what,” I said out of the blue.
This fact hit me as we were walking around Brow Lake together with our dogs, Bubba and Victor. My husband had to head back early to our house, and I was taking another loop.
I started up the hill, calling the dogs to come with me. They both just stood at the edge of the lake, looking at me, then turning toward Dan. Clearly befuddled, neither moved an inch in either direction.
“Don’t look back at them! Keep walking!” I shouted to my husband. “COMEBUBBACOME!” I bellowed, clapping my hands for emphasis.
The dogs grew more and more agitated, galloping five feet toward me, then five feet toward Dan, high-pitched, fretful yapping carrying over the water.
“I’ll take them back with me,” my husband yelled as he called them to come to him.
Their fretfulness quickly escalated into an all-out cacophony of anguish, and both the hound-mix and the Chihuahua-blend ran full throttle in both directions at the same time, obviously torn.
Irritated, I backtracked down to the lake and put them both on their leashes, muttering about their poor training and disobedience and high maintenance. I dragged them the direction I was walking, but they embedded their haunches on the road, straining against my pull.
“OH PLEASE!!” I snapped. “This is ridiculous! You will see him in twenty minutes!” Distraught, they only yowled their pathetic, piercing cries.
“HOLD UP!” I yelled to my husband across the water. “This isn’t working!” I unleashed the traumatized animals, and they took off full throttle toward Dan, screeched to a halt, then ran at mach speed back toward me, all the while moaning and whimpering and yelping.
To hear the two of them, you would think they’d been subjected to some form of medieval torture.
I could see my husband’s neon green t-shirt as he approached the dam, and I threw up my arms in surrender.
“WE HAVE TO STAY MARRIED!” I shouted. “Can you imagine the dogs if we were to get divorced?”
“Do they do psychoanalysis on dogs,” he asked.
“The kids would be fine, but the dogs would be disasters,” I said.
The dogs trotted along beside us, tossing their heads up as they looked up at us. Docile and subdued, they smiled their doggie smiles as they lumbered and prissed up the hill.
“I thought you wanted to go an extra loop,” my husband said.
“No, I’ll just come home with you.
“It’s better if we stay together,” he said.
“Yes,” I answered, understanding my dogs’ reaction more than I let on.