It’s 5 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, and at this time tomorrow, I’ll have finished taking my last exam of the semester! I’m beside myself with anxiety and anticipation, which is probably why I’m stuffing my face like a pig. Seriously. In a three hour time period, I ate: a bowl of granola/cereal with milk, one bowl of fried gizzards with rice, a 1/2 pound wedge of watermelon, two mangoes, and a handful of chocolate chips. That may not sound a lot to you, but I didn’t even eat this much while I was pregnant!
It’s not just the exams that have me worried (although admittedly I am particularly afraid of the anatomy & physiology exam). The impending end of the semester means that I have no reason not to finish another novel and revise the two that I’ve already finished. It means that I’ll be spending more time with Riley (and what if I realize that he likes his nanny more than he likes me?!). It means Rob should be here in a matter of weeks (the latest he’ll be here is April 30th). It means having the time to finally nest, and allowing my mind to realize the full impact of the last 7 months: I’m really a mom, living in the Philippines and thisclose to getting married.
Oh, wait. Did I not mention that yet? Yeah, Rob and I have been throwing the marriage talk around a lot. It seemed appropriate since we’re already planning our next baby, our investments/finances, our time line for buying our first property, and our next two big moves (to New York, then to London). The idea of tying the knot slipped itself in between talk of stocks and bonds, life insurance, and retirement plans. We were very pragmatic; I asked questions like “If we’re not married, would it be harder for us to own property in different countries? Live abroad? Expect mutual health coverage from our employers?” Yes, yes, and yes.
I’ve been railing against the institution of marriage for as long as I can remember. My parents have a very dysfunctional relationship, and I can vividly recall being seven or eight years old and interrupting one of their arguments by screaming, “Will you guys shut up and just get a divorce already?! I can handle it! I watch TV! I know that you’ll still love me, even if you’re not married, and that’s what matters!”
Recently, though, I’ve had a change of heart when it comes to marriage. There’s this feeling I have that I can’t quite name. It’s not just love, lust, and luck. It’s appreciation and respect. It’s faith and hope. It’s not quite the kind of trust that I want with my soulmate, but then, I’m so paranoid and mistrusting that I’m known to throw around awful and heinous scenarios; see: the following conversation with my brother.
Me: I wonder why Riley keeps having nightmares.
Him: You’re sure they’re nightmares? He’s just not waking up and feeling scared because he’s alone?
Me: I’m sure of it. When I come to pick him up, he’s still sleeping, and he’s screaming and crying. [beat] I learned in my psychology class that that’s a sign of abuse. Ya think Cecil [his nanny] is abusing him? Neglecting him, maybe?
Him: Sis, she stays by him while he sleeps just to swat away mosquitoes. Sometimes, she even sleeps propped up on his play pen, like a scarecrow, just to make sure nothing goes near him.
Me: [beat] So you’re saying that it’s probably sexual abuse, instead of neglect?
So the lack of trust on my part? I’m working on it. And Rob’s doing things to build up my trust. And even though I know that trust is one of those basic building blocks of a relationship, it’s more of an ability thing when it comes to us. Like, I trust that Rob would go all rogue assassin if I were kidnapped by Muslim extremists in Mindanao. I just don’t trust that he has a very particular set of skills; skills he’s acquired from the karate lessons he took while in grade school, and maybe also from watching a lot of action movies. Skills that make him a nightmare for people that might kidnap me.
Then again, Rob’s got a body like that of an agile spider monkey, and he has damn good aim. He might surprise me, and that would make a hell of a better plot twist.
BOMB #2: Not only may I get married in the upcoming months, but I just revealed that I sometimes think of my life as the plot of a really good book, TV show, or movie, with lots of voice-over narration and compelling, award-winning dialogue, cinematography, and scene production. The film about my life would undoubtedly be the kind that cleans up at the Oscars, and its trailer would follow the following rules: