Being apart

Yesterday, Andrew and I celebrated three months of marriage.

Okay, celebrated is exactly the wrong word. We were hundreds of miles apart, as we have been for almost a month.

In fact, the only full week we’ve spent together was our honeymoon. Between him working out of town weekends and then getting a job out of town, these first few months have been about absence nearly as much as they have been about togetherness.

This is wearing, of course.

It’s also wonderful in its way.

When he is gone, I notice even more all the little things he does that I love. And he does the same.

Last weekend I went down to our new place and opened the fridge to find a mammoth jar of sauerkraut (which I hate but he loves), hot dogs, at least five packages of hamburger buns in the freezer (they were only a quarter apiece, how could he pass them by?), some carrots and apples, eggs and milk. I think that was it.

He hadn’t unpacked much of anything. I went to wash my hands after using the bathroom and couldn’t find the soap. It was in the shower. Of course. Why have two bars when one will do?

Our little triplex was a bachelor pad. I loved it, mainly because when he was a bachelor, his place was clean and neat. It was sparse, much too sparse for my taste, but it screamed sufficiency. Here was a man who was doing fine on his own, thank you very much. He had few needs and he met them.

But our place was another matter.

“It definitely needs a woman’s touch,” he said.

I laughed.

He hasn’t unpacked because he’s lazy, just for the record. We talk at 7:30 every night on my dinner break, and he’s always still at work. He’s been putting in at least 10 hours every day just to make sure his kids are learning math and science.

This dedication to his students, this genuine love for them and responsibility to them, is one of the reasons I love him so much.

Also in his defense, I told him to live like a bachelor this month (minus the whole other relationships thing). I knew he’d be a workaholic, and I wanted him to get a little of it out of his system so by the time I got there, we could have time together.

My day off was Monday, so while he spent his day teaching, I set up our little den (also known as a tiny second bedroom), and made dinner, plus a pot of taco soup so he would have something to eat for at least a few more meals.

Andrew has always appreciated my cooking, but when he came home that night — after eating garbage for weeks and working like a dog — to steak, biscuits, mashed potatoes with cream cheese and chives, corn on the cob, spinach salad, and a bottle of cheap cabernet sauvignon (plus strawberry shortcake, not homemade, that we didn’t get to), I can’t describe the look on his face.

It was an evening we’ll never forget. And if we had spent every day of the last three months together, we wouldn’t have had it.

Still, I’m looking forward to Thursday, to moving in and being married full-time.

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