April 6, 2008
Addendum
K Number 1, if we had married, I'd probably be living in Southern California. I bet we'd have had the ceremony in our hometown and you would have sung at our wedding. Like that teal suit that plagued me through many a college formal, you'd have worn a non-traditional tuxedo for which I'd secretly resent you. I'd be a nagging wife who'd pester you to get a real job. I'd be a loving wife who repeatedly removed from its sacred place in her jewelry box the first ring you gave her when you knew she was the One. I would have been on the verge of breaking up with you over the years for your strange appreciation for Hootie and the Blowfish and a penchant for using slang in love letters. But I would be in awe of your passion for life and your love for your parents and your pick of the perfect engagement ring and your all-time amazing ability to disarm a woman with a kiss. If I had married you I would be a dog mom rather than a cat fiend. If I had married you I'd have been a widow at 29.

K Number 2, if I had married you, I'd probably be living on a street bearing your last name. We'd have a top-of-the-line gas grill and you'd probably coach a little league team. We'd likely travel out of state once a year, and when we did we'd bump heads as to whether it would be to Disney or Yellowstone. We wouldn't have gotten pregnant yet, but we'd hang out with high school friends who had a few little ones of their own. We'd have an in-ground pool and an SUV. We'd go to firehouse fundraisers and church on Sundays. On sweltering summer Fridays we'd make the age-old trek to the Jersey Shore and our neighbors there would know us by first names. At family cookouts I'd close the screen door behind me to find your mom standing alone in the kitchen, and we probably still wouldn't have much to say to one another even in the silence.

Dearest J, if we had gotten hitched, it would have been quite a wedding. Only after a series of hints and possible threats would you have gotten up the persuaded courage to propose to me, and when I told and retold the animated proposal story you would blush and slowly shake your downturned head. I'm pretty sure your bachelor party would have been broadcast on the Internet, and would have involved at least three different bail bondsmen. We'd have a baby boy and we'd live in Northern California. You'd be the most responsive husband and a wonderful father, the man who would go out once at 3 a.m. to appease my cereal craving and again at 3:30 when you confused Froot Loops with Apple Jacks. I would find myself often frustrated by your quiet nature but rewarded at the tiny bubbles of goodness and wit that would make their way to the surface during an odd expressive moment. If we were married it's safe to say I'd be drinking hard liquor.

C, if we had made it this far I think we'd be living in Tallahassee, still doing the grad school thing almost a decade after we both started. We would have been married in a Catholic church in DC, and I probably would not have met half the friends you invited to the wedding. I still wouldn't really know what happened in New Mexico. A good bit of our furniture would be from Ikea, and much to my mother's chagrin, we'd have gotten at least two large tents and a thankfully smaller chocolate lab as wedding presents. I'd force myself on a regular basis to eat seafood and not to use puns to excess. We'd go to Martha's Vineyard for our yearly trip and I would find it amazingly rewarding to see my sunburned cheeks in the annual family photo. I'd remain in awe of your ability to make perfect rice and completely amazed at what a good, good man I had found to put up with me. A good bit of the time our lives would be spent in complete silence.

R, if we had gotten married we'd be living in Alexandria, likely in a small house in the back roads of Del Ray. We'd be regulars at the local coffee house, me writing on my laptop and you reading about the latest social revolution. I'd be doubling up on birth control while you did exercises you'd found on the Internet rumored to make your sperm more ambitious. I'd watch you play inline hockey on Wednesday nights and wonder why I never really fit in with any of the other wives. I'd pray for you to get your front tooth fixed. I'd bake miniature rum cakes and take them to parties at which I'd wish for once you'd mingle. Instead, you'd mostly just sit, writing or singing or whatever it is you did in your own head, while I drank Chianti to excess and contemplated forcing myself on your coworker under the mistletoe.

K, if we had gotten married we'd sooner or later nest in MD. You'd play ball for the alumni club and I'd probably only show for the Miller Lites that followed. I'd want to undress you no matter the suit and beg you to wear them more often. We'd go back to San Francisco to recapture moments of near-perfect wine and sex. I'd find excuses not to go on stateside group vacations, hoping for more than repeated college reunions. Neither of us would bring any good furniture to the union, and we'd still order in and eat on a coffee table, always in front of the television. Laughter would be our foundation. I'd pick fights about family and finances, delusional that it would prompt change, and then guilt would prompt a frantic effort at nice. Our best days would be spent by the ocean, your freckles urged out by the sun, me giggling while clumsily trying to float the waves. You would have been thankful that my father was alive to see me in my wedding white. I would always know that I could trust you, count on you to hold my hand tightly, and ask me to dance no matter the event. I'd still drink Yellow Tail. And our lives would still be about me.


29 Comments:

Blogger HKW said...

What a life you lead. I admire your ability to write and be so honest. I wish to see relationships this clearly.

Blogger YCCM'S' said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger YCCM'S' said...

Oh, that wiley word 'If' with all its weight. Even now we really don't know what we thought we knew then. It's a complicated preposition.

Blogger distracted spunk said...

I've never thought about things from that angle, and it's quite...interesting to see how things would have turned out. I am tempted to do this myself, but I don't quite think it's something I'm in a place to see with as much as clarity as you have.

Blogger The Ex said...

I'm very tempted to think about this myself but I'm afraid it would depress me.

I love Yellow Tail. No shame, my friend.

Blogger Jessica said...

I play this game in my head on occasion, but never in such an organized fashion. I'm a little bit afraid that it would leave me in tears. I'd hate to water down my wine with tears.

You are a wonderful writer Kris. Thanks again!

Blogger Neil said...

Powerful stuff. Of course, you never truly know. I say, you're on the best path, since you're already on it.

Blogger MereCat said...

I loved this post. It made me think about all my exes and where I would be with them. It's funny because I was married once before, but divorced him after doing this exercise in fast forward.

Blogger EDW said...

Is the last one the new one?

I've read this before, and I always liked it. Today, though, it brought tears to my eyes, because whatever I go through with my husband - passion, adoration, hate, frustration, to name a few - I would never give up this life with him. It's never boring. It's never desperate. Even at our worse, we love each other. Even at our worse, we can always come together over the need for decent coffee, a fascination with Ikea, and how everyone in NJ drives ten times worse than we do. And don't get us started on the PA drivers.

What makes up a marriage and life together is debatable, but even when I want to kill him, it's still the life I want. I hope that makes sense.

Blogger Nic said...

I love this post. I wonder myself and the only thing I know is that in any of my "if" futures, I wouldn't be happy, because I wasn't happy. I just have to wait to see what the future brings. I'm really freaking impatient, though.

Blogger Mamma said...

I feel like I'm hearing lots of references to marriage here lately.

Something you haven't told me??

Blogger WildbillthePirate said...

I'd like to attend the "engagement" party in DC! I think rather than dwelling on what could have been You should make the grand leap to what it is Now. Life has many paths, not all of them can or even should be seen. but getting together a bunch of folks just to eat, drink, laugh and Dance the night away IS a worthwhile goal in and of itself!

Blogger Melliferous Pants said...

I started reading this but can't stop thinking about how very long my list would be...so long that I can't wrap my head around it and I know that I'm forgetting men, here and there, and that makes me feel like an enormous hussy on the verge of a panic attack. I'm going to take a Lorazepam, hit the hay and return tomorrow when I'm less special.

What a great post. I'm wondering if you believe in fate?

Great post...It makes me think of all of my relationships and how they've turned out and then think back even more to the person that I've become because of them, as well as, the person that I would be if we were still together today.

Blogger Skyzi said...

You are a lucky woman to be able to look back and see that those were not the right paths for you. You were strong enough not to make those commitments that were not right for you and to seek out that "right" fit....It's 9 am and I need a drink!

Blogger Heather said...

Always amazed...

What a wonderful writer you are.

Blogger Colleen Snell said...

Man, now I am cycling through my men and the results are interesting to say the least. Better stay where I am.

Blogger t2ed said...

The best part is that you have a dossier on all these men with an uplink to your Google maps widget so you can know where they are at any time.

Clearly none of them would have stood a chance at having "hand" with you, would they?

Blogger Freda Mooncotch said...

Great post. I enjoyed reading your stream of thought personal story. I am going to be 36 in a month. Dreading it sorta. -Freda alphawomen.com

Blogger mandy said...

It's interesting.. because i don't know you.. nor do i know these men that you're describing. But i can see how you could fall in love with each of them.

Last week for me was filled with... wow if I weren't here I'd be there.. moments. There's beauty in that.. and a little ache. But I choose to believe that we are standing in the spot we were always meant to stand in. Even if we had to go through the alphabet to get there...

Blogger Rachel said...

I cycled through my other "ifs" in my head, and yours all sounded much more promising! lol. I'm thankful to have my husband...

Blogger Gwen said...

I've been with my husband so long, I can barely remember my other ifs, which, is, on the whole, a good thing.

And I was just at a wedding last weekend, the first marriage of an old broad like myself, and thinking about how lovely it all was.

Blogger Nettie said...

What a beautiful post. Besides the man I spent 20 years with, there have only been two others that I could possibly write about. I'm finally at a point in my life where I can look at other "options". Thank you so much for sharing that.

Great post! This is not something I would of ever have given thought to putting words to. Just one of those things that periodically floats through my head, "what if...", usually when I'm PO'd with my hubby. I admire your courage to do so.

Blogger Debbie said...

I think the fact that I was unable to imagine the "what if" with my most serious relationships, was the very reason they never made it that far.

Excellent read.

Blogger 1218Blog said...

Hi! I just randomly found my way over to your blog and am thoroughly entertained! I'll be visiting more often.

And what a great post about your exes, and their infamous "What if"

Blogger Lora said...

oh wow. You are brave for this post, and for that I envy you. I love this game, but I'm way too chicken to play it.

I found you via Trenches, I figured anyone that feels the Jersey pull despite not living there was worth a read, and I'm glad I did! Love the blog, I've put you on my Reader.

Blogger The Red said...

Okay, I had to copy your idea because I could not stop thinking about it. Gave full credit to you on the post, by the way. I added you to the blogroll too - love your stuff!

http://redstaplernation.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/wine-and-roses-beer-and-burgers-among-other-things/

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