As an English teacher, especially with the kind of students I tend to see in my classroom--nonnative speakers, older students who have been away from formal education for decades, and young people whose emailing and texting habits have deteriorated their grammar--you see your share of, how shall I say this politely, colorful manglings of the language. When faced with a daunting stack of papers to grade, these howlers, as I've come to call them, offer a much-needed injection of levity in an otherwise bleak task. One of my personal faves, in a paper about racial stereotypes, discussed profiling at the airport. It said something to the effect of "They think because I wear a headscarf I am a Middle Eastern theorist." I nearly choked on my Diet Coke when I read that. (I was just out of grad school at the time, having had my will to live nearly beaten out of me by acolytes of the various schools of theory--the post-colonial theorists, the Marxist feminists theorists, psychoanalytic Freudian theorists--and the image of any theorist, radical or not, being stopped at the airport, had me guffawing.) My husband G, who, also, until recently, taught English, came across our perennial gold-medal winner a few years ago in a paper about the sanctity of marriage. The line in question read, "You can divorce your spouse, but you cannot kill them." I can't even type those words without cracking up.
I bring this all up, not to embarrass the anonymous students who unwittingly provide hours of amusement and fodder for inside jokes, but because, on the eve of my one year anniversary, I sometimes, reflecting on what G's student wrote, think that I'd rather G kill me than ever leave me. Which is to say, I can't imagine living without him. And I'd prefer not to, if given the choice. (Not that G is a murderer, mind you. I'm using what we call in the biz "hyperbole.")
You see, as we approach our anniversary this Sunday, I'm more madly in love with my husband than ever. This has been an enormously trying year for us. We never imagined that, a year into our marriage, I'd be facing major surgery or that the cloud of cancer would come settle over our new life together. But G has been unwavering in his love and dedication to me. So much so that I can unequivocally say I would not have the strength to have a mastectomy if not for his love. His support empowers me to face tough choices. And knowing that he will love me no matter what my breasts look like or feel like after surgery brings me peace, security, and confidence in both myself and my marriage.
Because of G, I've not had to face BRCA alone. It's his mutation now, too. And he's as committed as I am to beating cancer before it begins. In the last few months, I've found myself apologizing to G that his wife turned out to be a genetic dud, but he seems unfazed. He tells me I'm no mutant in his book and that he'd marry me again in a second. And when he says things like that, I can't imagine ever being with anyone else.
I know marriages can get rocky (we've already been together nearly seven years, and it hasn't always been smooth sailing), but right now, as we approach our anniversary, I can't imagine life without G. Especially with everything we've been through recently. Knowing that he will be there for me, to love me and support me on the other end of surgery, is the best anniversary gift I could ever ask for.
Happy anniversary, baby. I love you.
PS: I just got a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to my office! Such a good hubby!