Soulmates, 39 Years & Counting

Updated: Jun 27

An Anniversary for Two People Who've Always Been One

<—This girl? I've loved this woman since before I knew her. She loved me since before that time. We've loved each other from before we were born.

We're soulmates.

"Mate" comes from the Latin mater,

the root word for matter, mother, material,

that which matters. We're soulmates—our souls are of the same matter, the same material. We're cut of the same cloth.

One thing that will never be cut is what binds us together.

Today is our 35th anniversary. "Myeh," you might say. "I've known people married 75+ years." Pam and I aren't trying to break any longevity records. What's significant about our being in relationship for 39 years and married 35 years is all the things that could've divided us.

Start with my being born in Pennsylvania, Pam in Las Vegas. How did we ever meet? Fer crissakes, we were 17 and deciding on which college to go to. Like playing a game of spin the bottle. Two years apart, we both chose a small Catholic liberal arts school in North Texas.

Even there, though, a campus of about 1,100 put the odds against our meeting in a lifelong way. I was a Junior, she a Freshman. I had no business being at that Freshman Orientation event, but I wanted to see the movie they were showing. After the movie was a panel led by professors asking intellectual questions.

None of the unbaptized Frosh masses were gonna answer the first sally. So, me and my ego stepped in. A few questions later, I heard Pam answering a query and quoting me, by name. (Uh, she had me at the sound of my name. I had to find out how she knew it.)

We got engaged two months later, which, at age 20 and 18, felt like we'd known each other an eternity. We somehow survived two academic years of being together 24/7 on a close-knit campus, then two years apart while I went to grad school in PA and Pam finished her BA in Texas.

Got married a month after she graduated. We were parents 14 months after that. Momma and Daddy again 21 months after that. Third time being charmed 31 months after that. A home. A corporate job with benefits. Mayor of the small town we lived in. All before age 29. Why was I trying to live like I wasn't gonna see 30?

Along the way, Pam made me see life, kept me from missing it.

She stole my attention any way she could. Not by manipulation, not by abuse. Probably, mostly out of survival. Thirty-five years gave us lots of time also to betray each other in every possible way. In-between the bat-shit crazy inflection points in which we abruptly changed careers not once, not twice, but three separate times, and the times in which each of us daydreamed the other one dying because, damn it, we each were so fucking tired of weathering the drama we threw at each other, and the times when we thought (rightfully so) that no one could know us like the other did, no one could be for the other what Pam and I are to each other—in between all those moments that would fill in the made-for-TV movie of our lives was the stuff of montages, backlit by lilting music.

Living, fuck it. We lived. As who we are, abiding each other, stumbling and gracefully giving way for each other and holding firm against the passion of the other, to say, "You've got the volume turned up too loud, the heat too high, the pressure's crushing me!"