Six years. That’s how long Mike and I have been together. Our anniversary is June 2. Here’s the deal: we started dating seven years ago. After one year of insane, passionate love (it’s true) and terrible fights (so true), we broke up. Technically, Mike broke up with me, but I knew it was for the best. It was too hard for me to do it. I wish I was stronger. Very, very long story short, we got back together a year later and have been together ever since.
We both work June 2, so there’s not much celebrating. We’re not big on anniversaries anyway. Two years ago we were going to a 4th of July party and our anniversary came up in conversation. We both looked at each other. Did we forget our anniversary? Shit, we did. Oh well. Happy four years!
I wake up Saturday morning and there’s a card on the table for me. When Mike gets home later while I’m at work, there’s a card for him. That’s about it. We promise to have a date night, which randomly happens Tuesday. Mike had to wake up at 2:30am for American Idol, so he ends up getting home around 5pm. Mrs. Manfre got us a LivingSocial voucher a while ago for this Italian restaurant. It expires this week, so let’s do it.
We drive over to West Hollywood to this place called Enzo and Angela’s. It’s a cute Italian restaurant and we have a cute, older Italian waiter named Hektor. He does this cool thing with our wine that I’ve never seen – keeps the foil attached to the bottle and uses it as a holder for the cork. “I’ll leave the cork in case you don’t finish so you can take it with you.” He speaks slowly and deliberately and I cut him off at the end. Oh, you won’t have to worry about that. “Hey, let me finish my thing (in an Italian accent, Kel).” I’ve never heard so many specials in my life. You know they have a lot of specials when he doesn’t tell you everything right off the bat. “What do you like? Beef? Chicken? Fish? Pasta?” Mike says beef, I say fish. He tells each of us three different specials, then asks if we’d like to hear the pasta specials. Well, sure. Mike ends up getting some rigatoni special with filet mignon. I get peppardelle with lobster, shrimp, and scallops. Everything is delicious. Mike pours us a second glass of wine and goes to place the bottle on the table. Instead, he slams it on the top of his wine glass. We both just stare at each other and start laughing. You’re so lucky you didn’t just smash that glass. We’re laughing and being loud and Mike is constantly asking if everyone is looking at us. No. Nobody cares. Hektor walks over. Mike’s plate is almost finished and I still have more than half left. Hektor decides to tell us a story. “When my father used to hire people, he’d take them to lunch. Get whatever you like, it’s on me. Now, if there were people like you (he points to Mike), who eat fast and are then ready to listen and work, they’d get hired.” Well, I’m glad Mike’s fast eating has its benefits because usually it just means he feels sick afterwards. I guess I wouldn’t get hired then. “You? No.” He slaps his hands like he’s wiping them clean. “Housewife.” And he walks away. My mouth is hanging open. Mike is laughing; so am I, even though slightly offended. Then I change my mind. That’s right. I do want to be a housewife. I want you to support me so I can do whatever I want and not worry about paying the bills. Mike is not OK with this. We’re going to be 50/50 FOREVER. Ugh, fine.
Hektor takes a long time to bring us the bill. He must feel bad, because he brings us two glasses of port – delicious. I also think it’s because he just likes us. Mike and I play the game we always play – guess the cost of the bill. Mike wins (he guessed less). We give Hektor a nice tip. Let me explain, for you jerks who don’t know how to tip. The deal we got (thank you Mrs. Manfre) was $60 off our bill. The total comes to 120, minus the 60 for our deal. We don’t tip on the actual total, which is $60. We tip on what it would have been – $120. And we leave a little extra for the complimentary ports. Always tip 20% on what what the total should be. That goes for happy hour, too. If two of you drink three $3 beers and your check is $18, you don’t leave $4. I mean, that’s the bare minimum. You’re getting a deal as it is – half off. Leave an extra couple bucks. Jesus. If you don’t have the money to go out, don’t go out.
Mike and I have a great time. It’s a perfect anniversary celebration. We are not a perfect couple, in any way, but it seems that the older we get and the more mature we get, the more we talk out our problems and try to love each other for who we are. When we left for California, we had a going away party. Somehow, marriage came up, and I said that if Mike asked me to marry him I would say no. Maria yelled at me. “You would not say no!” Yes I would. I’m not ready. We’re not ready. I need to be 100% sure, and I’m not. I used to think he needed to be perfect. You know, knight in shining armor and all that. And I think I deserve something amazing. Now, it’s more about learning and understanding each other. It’s a constant effort. Not in a bad way; just in a way that we both love each other and want to make this work. I don’t ever want to get divorced. If I ever get married, I want it to be for good. Mike and I are lucky enough to both have parents who love each other and are still together. I don’t think either set of parents have a perfect relationship, but both love each other unconditionally and do whatever it takes to make it work. I can only hope to have the same thing for myself.
*The Postal Service