Marriage

Marriage is disarming.  The every day volatility is alarming and yet reassuring. The refuge and prestige are comforting. We are one and two together. And, that seems to be enough.

 Let’s examine.  I am woman.  He, a man.   We submit to each other for the purpose of refuge and prestige, under vow of love. Therein, embrace and endurance, capital “T” “tedium” and lower case “me“.

“We” – pronoun of the first person plural (compare I, our, ours, us).

 “We” falters.  “We” begins again.  “We” starts.  “We” stops. “We” meanders. “We” relishes and defines and redefines.  “We” supposes and deposes. “We” questions and answers. “We” finalizes and leaves open-ended. 

‘We” is progenitor, a community of life and the recipient of sacramental blessing.

 “We”, together, each and the other.  Forever.

********

Here’s a look at one marriage from a passage of Samuel Beckett’s novel Malone Dies:

The man’s name is Saposcat. Like his father’s. Christian name? I don’t know. He will not need one. His friends call him Sapo. What friends? I don’t know. A few words about the boy.
This cannot be avoided. …

…He was the eldest child of poor and sickly parents. He often heard them talk of what they ought to do in order to have better health and more money. He was struck each time by the vague-ness of these palavers and not surprised that they never led to anything. His father was a salesman, in a shop. He used to say to his wife, I really must find work for the evenings and the Saturday afternoon. He added, faintly, And the Sunday. His wife would answer, But if you do any more work you’ll fall ill. And Mr. Saposcat had to allow that he would indeed be ill- advised to forego his Sunday rest. These people at least are grown up. But his health was not so poor that he could not work in the evenings of the week and on the Saturday afternoon. At what, said his wife, work at what? Perhaps secretarial work of some kind, he said. And who will look after the garden? said his wife. The life of the Saposcats was full of axioms, of which one at least established the criminal absurdity of a garden without roses and with its paths and lawns uncared for. I might perhaps grow vegetables, he said. They cost less to buy, said his wife. Sapo marvelled at these conversations. Think of the price of manure, said his mother. And in the silence which followed Mr. Saposcat applied his mind, with the earnestness he brought to everything he did, to the high price of manure which prevented him from supporting his family in greater comfort, while his wife made ready to accuse herself, in her turn, of not doing all she might. But she was easily persuaded that she could not do more without exposing herself to the risk of dying before her time. Think of the doctor’s fees we save, said Mr. Saposcat. And the chemist’s bills, said his wife. Nothing remained but to envisage a smaller house. But we are cramped as it is, said Mrs. Saposcat. And it was an understood thing that they would be more and more so with every passing year until the
day came when, the departure of the first-born compensating the arrival of the new-born, a kind of equilibrium would be attained. Then little by little the house would empty. And at
last they would be all alone, with their memories. It would be time enough then to move.

He would be pensioned off, she at her last gasp. They would take a cottage in the country where, having no further need of manure, they could afford to buy it in cartloads. And their children, grateful for the sacrifices made on their behalf, would come to their assistance. It was in this atmosphere of unbridled dream that these conferences usually ended. It was as though the Saposcats drew the strength to live from the prospect of their impotence. But sometimes, before reaching that stage, they paused to consider the case of their first-born. What age is he now? asked Mr. Saposcat. His wife provided the information, it being understood that this was of her province. She was always wrong. Mr. Saposcat took over
the erroneous figure, murmuring it over and over to himself as though it were a question of the rise in price of some indispensable commodity, such as butcher’s meat. And at the same time he sought in the appearance of his son some alleviation of what he had just heard. Was it at least a nice sirloin? Sapo looked at his father’s face, sad, astonished, loving, disappointed, confident in spite of all. Was it on the cruel flight of the years he brooded, or on the time it was taking his son to command a salary? Sometimes he stated wearily his regret that his son should not be more eager to make himself useful about the place. It is better for him to prepare his examinations, said his wife. Starting from a given theme their minds laboured in unison. They had no conversation properly speaking. They made use of the spoken word in much the same way as the guard of a train makes use of his flags, or of his lantern. Or else they said, This is where we get down. And their son once signalled, they wondered sadly if it was not the mark of superior minds to fail miserably at the written paper and cover themselves with ridicule at the viva voce. They were not always content to gape in silence at the same landcape. At least his health is good, said Mr. Saposcat. Not all that, said his wife. But no definite disease, said Mr. Saposcat. A nice thing that would be, at his age, said his wife. They did not know why he was committed to a liberal profession. That was yet another thing that went without saying. It was therefore impossible he should be unfitted for it. They thought of him as a doctor for preference. He will look after us when we are old, said Mrs. Saposcat. And her husband replied, I see him rather as a surgeon, as though after a certain age people were inoperable.

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