By Cindy Filipenko
Last fall, while under the influence of a Pacific sunset and a few margaritas, the Spousal Equivalent (SE) agreed to drop the “Equivalent” from her title. When we get hitched later this month, we’ll have been together for exactly five years and two days. In the course of those five years some pretty amazing things have happened.
When we first met, I was living in 600 square feet of concrete heaven high above English Bay. The only living thing in my home was a philodendron I had reluctantly inherited from my friend Cheap Amanda. (Being naturally cheap, she just couldn’t throw it out.) I was well on my way to perfecting selfish, urban singlehood with a schedule that featured an inordinate number of brunches.
When I told my friends I had fallen in love and would be moving to a town of 2,000 with a woman I’d known for six months who had a 10-year-old daughter and three-year-old son they merely smiled, their eyes wincing from having to bite their tongues. And to make it work all I had to do was quit smoking, realize I wasn’t the centre of the universe and master the art of making sandwich-less preschooler lunches while half asleep.
The first six months after I moved in, I would have to sequester myself a few times a week in the bedroom to decompress. I would lay there shaking and overhear SE telling the kids from the other side of door, “Don’t worry, Cindy just needs a time out.” In truth, I probably needed unlimited refills of a heavy duty, fast-acting sedative. Naively, I figured if I could get through quitting smoking without Zyban, I could get through the steep parenting learning curve without Xanax.
I was crazy enough about SE that I wasn’t going to let a little thing like carrying a toddler, stiff with rage, in the throws of a full tantrum out of Nesters under the reproachful eyes of the sanctimoniously childless, get in the way. I was mad enough about SE to bravely face the tumultuous onset of Number 1’s foray into puberty. I was so taken with SE that the fact I had moved somewhere that could turn into an island when enough water was added didn’t even phase me.
Five years later the Number 2’s tantrums are a thing of the distant past and Number 1 is a willowy 5’ 9” capable of truly engaging — and often witty — conversation. And with the exception of the Great Vinyl Pool blowout of 2006, which saw 20,000 litres of water set free in one mighty whoosh, things have been relatively dry since 2003. And best of all, I am still crazy about the woman I was lucky enough to have met five years ago.
Before I met SE, I was the kind of homo gal who assumed the possibility of meaningful life ceased to exist once you hit any bridge heading out of Vancouver. Boy, was I wrong. Five years of evolving careers, growing kids and day to day life in the kind, little town which is Pemberton has taught me more than I could every have imagined. I have learned the value of good neighbours, the possible breadth and depth of friendship and the importance of community. To feel truly at home in a place I never expected to be so accepting is an amazing feeling.
Announcing that we’ll be hosting a Bridal Barbecue in June has only intensified that feeling. Ours is the first wedding I’ve heard of where people who couldn’t make it have tried to transfer their invitations, while others have announced their intentions of crashing. As well, one of our male friends has made it known that he is completely committed to giving away at least one of us. And strangers are commenting in the grocery store about our wedding invitation. (We went for a rather non-traditional Peppermint Patti /Lisa Simpson theme.)
The rings have been bought, the caterers are set, the band booked, the clothes are ready to make their debut and the RSVP list closes tomorrow. This wedding has clearly taken on a life of its own. It’s all a little surreal. I never expected that I would ever be allowed to be legally married. And by the time I met SE I had pretty much given up on the idea that I would meet anyone I would want to marry.
In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be phasing out of my regular duties at Pique to pursue some other projects that are coming to fruition. So with a fair amount of certainty, I assume this is the last time I will write about SE. The next time I get to reference her in print, it’ll be as “The Wife”. How cool is that?