Monday, February 27, 2006

Keeping a promise

I promised [^] to continue the story of my second marriage. Well I've missed the target by one day Australian time but it's very early on the 12th anniversary US time. since I now live in the US I'm going to judge my compliance by US time :-)

I feel a little bitter about that marriage but as time passes it's getting easier to forget the bad and remember the good. And there was much good to remember; it was Peta who introduced me to red wine. In my sillier moments I picture it thus; 'Rob? This is red wine'. 'Red wine? This is rob'. Followed by an embrace that lasts to this day.

I remember the day in January of 1990 (summertime in Melbourne) when we danced through the hail that coated Princess Street Carlton in a white that looked like snow. Fun day!

I remember how we used to eat at Tiamo's in Lygon Street Carlton. The times we'd nip around the corner into Rathdowne Street to the Indian takeaway for Pappadums and Curry. The times we spent at Philip Island at her parents holiday house, where her mother would ask me to remind her to do something. I'd instantly reply 'don't forget to do such and such'. Somehow her mother never got the joke! I even got her mother once on that ancient gag, you know the one, where you tell someone that the latest edition of whatever dictionary doesn't contain the word gullible. Her mother fell for it!

I remember how we used to hold our own style of dinner party; inviting friends over for a night of wine and lambs fry cooked by yours truly. I'd dump the kidneys and bacon onto a large dish and we'd all dig in.

The time we spent in the Kings Domain[^] at 3 AM, March 3 1988, staring into each others eyes. It seemed, then, that everything was possible.

On the day we were married (February 26 1994 in case you've forgotten) we were already living in our house; the last house I lived in in Australia. We tried to stick to the tradition of the bride and groom not seeing other on the day of the marriage before the ceremony. Mostly worked. I remember a morning of bustle and fuss as Kylie and Peta and various others made coffee and worried about veils and limousines and hairdos.

Later I remember midday at Heino's house with Heino and Garry, my best man and moral support respectively. Garry was doing my hair and Heino was laughing at the sight. Let's not play secretive games. Garry is a gay man and my second best friend. I haven't seen him for more than 5 years but if I ran across him tomorrow I'd give him a big hug.

Thus to the ceremony. This was held at Peta's parents place. An English village transplanted to Australia. It was planned and executed with that idea behind it sometime in the 1920's. it's cute and homely and very unAustralian. So unAustralian that my friends were asked not to enter the house during the wedding breakfast. *shrug*

After the ceremony we went through the usual photographic penance. It went on so long that we missed dinner! I kid you not; the caterers had the face to tell us that food was done when we appeared, hungry after the photoshoot. I seem to remember dining off crackers and cheese.

And then it was time for the speeches. Now this is hard to describe so bear with me. Sue, my first wife, was the matron of honour. The bride gets to choose her matron of honour, just as the groom chooses his best man. So it's obvious that Sue, my first wife, was Peta, my second wife's choice. With me so far?

We, my new wife and I, were standing before the cake at my inlaws house. On my right were my new wifes extended family, on my left my friends. Heino, my best man, did the usual kind of speech; bringing up all kinds of embarassing but funny crap about me. And then Sue insisted on doing a speech. That's Sue for you :-)

She opened with 'I've known Rob for 15 years'. At which point a sound arose on the right; the sound of fifty relatives drawing breath simultaneously! I don't say they hissed but it sure sounded like it!

I'll draw a veil over the rest of that evening...

The following day we went to Tasmania for the honeymoon. 7 wonderful days spent going through early Australian Colonial History. Strangely enough, it was on a hillside on the road from Hobart to Port Arthur that I saw my first North American Bison in the wild.

Our marriage lasted for 372 days. On March 7 1995 Peta moved out and we've never said a friendly word since. We've said just two words since. On August 24th 1995 (coincidentally, the day Windows 95 was released) at 2 AM Peta knocked on my door. I opened it and said two words. No, not the obvious two words. I said 'go away').

Faults on both sides. The last time I saw her was in early November of 1999. The last fleeting contact we had was fleeting indeed. In November of 2002 as I was preparing to leave Australia to come to America I had arranged for our cat, Manon, to live with Sue. Sue was willing but Peta wanted Manny. I was more than happy for Manny to go live with Peta; she'd been 'our' cat. But for reasons best known to Peta she didn't want to pick Manny up at my house; Manny had to travel to Sues house first and thence to Petas.

How do I feel about it all a dozen years later? It's significant that ALL of my friends said that they had premonitions about that marriage; after we separated. I don't anymore ask why the heck they didn't say anything before the marriage; I understand. Would I have listened? Nope. All that would have been achieved by someone expressing reservations would have been a cooling of feelings. Sometimes you just can't save a friend no matter how much you want to.

It's all a dozen years ago. Long enough ago that it doesn't matter much anymore. Life goes on.

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