Date Night When You’re Married

Spy and I sat on the back patio Saturday night. Mother Nature still insists it’s summer here, regardless of the fact that Father Time decreed Autumn over a week ago. Despite the squabble, it all was quite lovely.

Miss Girl was at a sleepover, so the house was unusually calm. Spy was leaving for Europe the next day, so we opted to hang at home and take it easy, rather than taking our game out on the town the moment we didn’t have to pay for a sitter.

Cocktails on our patio always suit me just fine. We’ve been doing a lot of running around the past several weeks with school and social events, anyway, and I craved a little down time. Plus, it felt like it was about time the two of us had some time to catch up — just the two of us without valets or waiters, other patrons or something we were supposed to be watching to distract us. Just us.

As I sat listening to the soothing flow of the fountain and enjoying the warm air and my Chardonnay, I contemplated reading a few pages of the book several of my neighborhood friends passed along saying I had to read. The 50 pages or so I’ve read are wonderful, but that night, I just wanted to be.

Next to me on the outdoor sofa, my husband sat finishing up a few emails that needed to go out before his trip, then took up one or another of the newspapers he reads cover to cover. We exchanged a few words here and there, but the dominant sound of the early evening was quiet. And that was just fine.

Soon, the café lights flipped on with their dusk-to-dawn timer, adding a romantic glow to our familiar setting. He asked me what our friend and her new boyfriend were doing that night, since she had a daughter at the sleepover, as well. From what I knew, they were headed out on the town to a bustling Saturday night scene at Krog Street Market for dinner, drinks and wherever the night led them. I explained as much . . . and then sighed.

On the surface, it sounded like so much fun. New love . . . getting dressed up for a Saturday night out and all the electricity, excitement and romance the night would hold. And then it sounded exhausting. I was so perfectly content sitting next to my husband with no make-up on, knowing that he thinks I’m beautiful, no matter what, and that we could speak . . . or not speak . . . and everything was just fine. I literally couldn’t imagine having to sit at dinner with someone wondering if my hair looked weird from the humidity while making conversation, and getting to know them.

I know everything about my husband. In fact, the next day when he was at the office rushing to get ready for his trip and I was at home (watching the disastrous Falcons), the phone rang. Though I was on the other side of the house, I knew it was him. And I knew this was the call to ask me to put his laundry in the dryer because he was headed home to throw everything in his suitcase before frantically calling a Lyft and heading to Hartsfield. I had already asked myself 15 minutes earlier whether I should go do something with his laundry.

That is what ~20 years of knowing each other, 13 years of living together and 11+ years of marriage gets you. We are in sync.

That night on the patio, he felt exactly the same. He was happy to have me next to him and happy that we could just be. I told him that if he goes down on one of his trips, I’ll end up a spinster because I absolutely can’t bear to go through that awkward time of dating again. For all the excitement, uncertainty and passion it offers, I would opt for security, hilarious inside jokes and reading each others’ minds any and every day of the week. He agreed. And we re-affirmed, jokingly, that there’s no point in getting divorced over anything at this point because it’s just way too much trouble.

Then we speculated about our friends and how their date was going. We talked politics, Miss Girl’s school, neighborhood gossip, our parents, finances, our upcoming (separate) high school reunions, (again) how we are not getting loblolly pines for the postage-stamp backyard . . . pretty much the gamut over several more glasses of that Chardonnay and his Scofflaws. We laughed. We finished each others’ sentences. We awed at what a wonderful life we have made/fallen into.

And not one minute felt forced or awkward. And all the ups and downs of the 20 years, like they always do, melded into a conversation I could only have with my very best friend. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. And pretty much, it was the best date night ever.

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