Lucinda said, “I Do”, for the eighth time. Not literally but figuratively – the wording might’ve been slightly different some of the times, but they all meant the same thing. Lucinda was committed to this man forever! Even the bland, concrete block walls and flickering fluorescent lighting in the basement room at City Hall where she said the words couldn’t dampen her mood.
Lucinda thought back to the first time she’d said them. She’d felt so beautiful and grown up walking down the aisle, toward the man she wanted to be with forever. Lucinda had been barely eighteen but, even then, knew what she wanted – a life with someone who’d take her away from the miserable, abusive atmosphere she’d grown up in. They’d create a new world all their own. Too bad the groom had changed so much after the wedding. He’d become an entirely different man. Although, he hadn’t even been a man, really, when they’d married – just a boy only one year older than Lucinda. She could see that, now, even though she hated to admit her father had been right.
It was after he DID become a man, or should have, when the trouble started. The yelling and hitting and breaking things. It’d been hard for Lucinda to control her rage toward him, even though she’d known it was wrong – he’d just been so damn submissive about everything. Leaving her was the only thing he’d ever done that showed any backbone at all. But, Lucinda HAD loved him and had truly meant the “I Do” part when she said it.
And she’d meant it the other times, too. Or most of them, anyway. There WAS that one drunken interlude in Vegas. Lucinda wasn’t sure it should even be counted. Number 5 – a nice man, but with a huge drinking problem, as it happened. Maybe if they hadn’t rushed things she’d have figured that out before it was too late. But, “Live and Learn”, Lucinda always said.
Number 6 may have been a bit shaky, too. More of a lark than a marriage, really. She’d been caught up in the euphoria of being desired by a much younger man. Anyone would’ve been. Lucinda hadn’t wanted the feeling to end. Who could blame her?
Come to think of it, Number 3 maybe wasn’t such a good decision, either. Whatever had possessed Lucinda to commit her life to someone who was 45 years old, and had never been married, even once? Who still lived in his mother’s basement playing video games most of the day? Those were red flags, right there, now that Lucinda understood them.
But, all her other marriages had been rock-solid, at least at the start. It wasn’t Lucinda’s fault Number 2 cheated on her all those times. When he’d left his previous wife after starting to date Lucinda, he’d promised his philandering days were over forever. No, it definitely hadn’t been Lucinda’s fault it had ended.
And Number 4 had CERTAINLY been true love. When you married someone who was in prison, you REALLY had to mean it! The thing was after they’d married, and he’d been paroled, it hadn’t been the same for either of them. Lucinda didn’t believe any of those things her daughter had told her he’d tried to do to her, at the time. Now she wasn’t so sure, but who could’ve predicted any of that?
Lucinda had been all in on Number 7. All in. Totally committed. Although, after they’d gotten married she’d discovered he wasn’t a romantic like she was. Was it any wonder Lucinda was attracted when Jorge came along, with his poetry and art and music? Those things were the very ESSENCE of everlasting devotion! Jorge and Lucinda were kindred spirits, and that would never be possible with Number 7. She’d felt bad about it, but he’d be better off with someone else. Luckily, the divorce had come through quickly.
Lucinda looked up at Jorge – now husband Number 8. What a wonderful man! He’d only been in this country for a few weeks when they’d met, but he’d proposed to her almost immediately. Now THAT was love! The real thing. In a few months, they’d be celebrating their marriage with a romantic honeymoon trip. As soon as Jorge got his undocumented immigration status worked out. And everything on that score would be a lot easier, now they were married.
But Lucinda wasn’t in any rush. They had all the time in the world. Because marriage was forever, right?
PC: derek thomson, on unsplash