I may have only been married to R for six years, but as of today, we’ve been together ten.
Ten years ago, an ESL student from one of the smaller branches of the school where I worked came to my apartment. His name was R, he was quite wacky but very kind, and although it had been a bumpy ride, we had become friends. For me at at least, there was always an edge to it, the hope for something more in spite of the hint of scandal that it offered. He cooked somen noodles for me, we kissed, and then we went on to a fireworks festival in one of our prefecture’s cities. Afterwards, we meandered back to an izakaya, and then a hotel.
Nine years ago, I went to the restaurant in Melbourne where R was working even though he arranged the evening off; despite his pitiful wage, he still liked the food there. He gave me an opal necklace and we took sticker photos in one of the booths at the sticker photo shop on Swanston street. I had been sick; I remember feeling unwell on the walk back to our apartment but we still made it ok, as we always do.
Six years ago, we got married on the same date as our first date, a smaller party than I would have liked and without some of the most important people in my life there. But we did it, and then we went back to the fireworks festival where it all started afterwards.
Two years ago, I dressed in a floaty purple skirt and went to the same fireworks festival with him yet again, and the same hotel afterwards. I had taken yet another negative pregnancy test a couple of weeks before and I was feeling desperate. We went on a bizarre cruise around Tokyo Bay the next day where you could feed the seagulls swooping in for 100 yen and look at the industrial wasteland that is the coastline, Tokyo-side, of our city.
One year ago, I was nearly seven months pregnant and scared. It was the final day of Dr. I’d initial bedrest orders and the third day of taking anti-contraction medicine. I ventured out, this time just to our local fireworks, and hoped it would be enough, that the pain in my pelvis was just that now. I remember sitting on stone steps in the town we will shortly move to, watching the fireworks light up the sky while R went and fetched us drinks, feeling uncertain as to if I should be out at all and what would happen next.
And today, here we are. It’s not proving to be a particularly wonderful occasion – our nine month old baby has a fever, the weather’s grey, overcast and oppressively humid, and we’re too short on money to have gotten each other any really special gifts. However, R finalised all the important documents for the house today, so there is definitely that.
Still, we’re here, and that’s the important thing. Happy anniversary, R. Here’s to looking forward to another ten manic years together.