Congratulations! But why are you doing it?

About a year ago M and I started telling family and friends that we were going to get married.

Most of the times we got reactions such as “Congratulations!”, “I’m so happy for you!”, “Yeah!”. Other people didn’t seem very excited, and just told us “Uh, ok”. Better still than “Whatever”, but luckily no one said that!

Then we also received comments like “It was about time!”, “You’ve been together for such a long time!”. And while I replied with a vague “Yeah, right!” and a smile, I would start thinking What does it mean It was about time?! So after a certain amount of time you have to get married? I don’t think so! And what about people that decide to get married after being together a year or two? They should wait, or what?

Sometime the comment “You’ve been together for such a long time” was followed by “It’s not going to change anything”. Wait, what? Then we might as well stop planning the wedding, because what’s the point?

OK, I know they were just saying and they didn’t mean anything wrong. But still…

To me “It’s not going to change anything” sounds a lot like “Whatever”. And “You’ve been together for such a long time” it’s like saying “Of course you’re getting married, it’s just what you do”. Here’s the thing, maybe some people do get married because that’s what you do, but for us it was a carefully thought decision.

I know I was, and I am overreacting! Anyway, my thoughts about that kind of reactions, I just kept them for myself. Or share them with M. And now here.

It’s just that thinking that They’re just saying doesn’t help. Because I don’t want people to just say something, but I would appreciate that they show some interest. Like a friend of M’s. The only one who, after M told him that we had decided to get married, asked “Why?”. Thank you!

Well, basically the answer is “To make it official”. To be officially be seen as a couple, as a family. That’s why I proposed. Because as long as we were living in the Netherlands, we were already considered a family. And since we had decided to move back to Italy, I wanted that to continue, and not just to be seen as two people living together. We both know that we are more than that, but we wanted the Italian state, society, friends and family to also acknowledge that.

Some might think that the answer should be “Because we love each other”. Of course we do. But as we cynically like to say “Love has nothing to do with our decision to get married!”

The cruellest month

Canada. 2007. It’s a bright afternoon at the end of August. You check your email, and there’s a message from a friend you haven’t been hearing from for a few weeks. She is writing you about another friend, whom you haven’t been seeing for about a year.

You’ll never see her again.

You go away from the computer, in shock. You want to go outside. You want to breathe. You want to put air in your lungs, but your body has somehow forgot how to breathe. You have to go outside, you have to breathe. It doesn’t seem real, does it? It didn’t really happen, did it? It’s a dream, now you’re going to wake up.

But it is real. It did happen. She did do it.

You start breathing again, but it still feels unreal. A dream. A nightmare. It’s going to feel like this for a few days, weeks. You start to think about it, trying to make some sense out of it. Could someone have done something to avoid it? Could you have done something? But it’s too late anyways.

Do you feel guilty about it? You tell yourself that it just happens to lost touch with friends. It’s not your fault. But then you start remembering. You were so close, and then you started to drift apart. Slowly. You remember the times when you were not listening, or half listening, or listening but not with real interest. You were there when her problems started. And maybe you have even tried to be helpful at first, but then…you repeat yourself that it just happens to lost touch with friends.

They say time heals. With time pain will ease. And it does. Remembering the good times also helps. You do have many happy memories after all.

But at times it’s still difficult. It’s painful and it hurts.

And you can’t help but wonder.

Why?