The list of unwritten rules

Ten years ago I was divorced—had been for a year and single for nearly two. I had three kids under the age of 10.
Most of all, I thought I would spend the rest of my life alone.
On the morning of Aug. 12, 1995, I had a garage sale—and a date with destiny.
I lived in a rented house on Victoria Avenue and had begun the sale in the backyard near the garage, figuring the junk-hungry public would swarm in from the back alley and clean me out.
Not one person showed up.
After a hour-and-a-half without sales, I decided to move “lock, stock, and barrel” to the front yard. Among the many hoards the kids and I hauled to the new location was an old, humungous dictionary that was in serious need of new binding.
Not long after, a car appeared at the street corner, slowing so its driver—a bearded man wearing dark sunglasses—could check out the long table of household junk.
I stood there—coffee in hand—and watched as the black Mustang pulled up in front. The man got out and strolled to the sale table, and asked about the big dictionary with the $4 price tag. He was a collector of vintage books.
“Hi, I’m Peter,” he said, extending his open hand to me.
I will never forget that moment. It was the start of something great.
On Monday, June 13, Peter and I will mark our seventh wedding anniversary (that’s 49 in dog years, but who’s counting).
So far, married life has been very interesting, to say the least. Don’t get me wrong. We love the pants off each other (figuratively speaking). Okay, literally as well, depending on the heat of the moment.
However, as a couple, we’ve been challenged by children and step-children, long-distance jobs, and the universal splitter—lack of money.
Believe me, we weren’t exempt from anything. If Mother Nature could invent it, she sent it our way to test the thing in our marital waters.
There were times when we were half-drowned, but we always made it to shore and love was better after every swim.
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” —Mignon McLaughlin.
Among our most significant love preservers is trust. Tops in my book and in Pete’s. “Ain’t no mountain high enough to match it.”
Another love preserver, and, for that matter, life preserver, is humour.
In fact, just the other day, when I used my subtle powers to remind Peter of the upcoming red-letter day, a little light started to go off as I spoke of things to come—alerting me that trust and humour reserves were being tapped.
“We’ll be married seven years, can you believe it?” I jested to my man.
“The seven-year itch,” he replied, realizing the open door.
“The seven-year itch is on the unwritten list in marriage, isn’t it, honey?” he added. “The list that includes things like ‘Never drink a man’s last beer from the fridge.’”
(Pardon me, while I book a flight for two to New York).
“Does this mean I can have an affair? Isn’t there a window of opportunity here that I can use?” he queried.
“Yes, honey,” I remarked, cracking open the cap on the last beer. “It’s at the top of the Empire State Building and is the one you’ll get pushed out of if you try it.”
All kidding aside, Peter is the best love that ever happened to me in this lifetime. He was worth the wait—and I’d do it all over again just to watch him get out of that car, walk over, and shake my hand.
But this time, I’d charge him more for the book.

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