My wife and I appear to be opposites. One can be somewhat outspoken, loud and opinionated who doesn’t hide their feelings. The other tends towards the opposite end of the spectrum, (I leave you to guess which is which). However dig a little deeper and you will see a great deal that makes the relationship work. In fact, what I now recognise, is a bond between us.
Not that the other relationships for me, at least, didn’t have some bonds but that they were more to do with physical attraction than, probably, anything else. This was reflected in a joke I used to make, which was that Gaynor and I would have to go our separate ways before too long as I’d never had a relationship with anyone of her age. The joke was she is considerably younger than I am. Well we are now growing older (not old you will notice) together and it’s something I take great pleasure in; probably because I never expected that to happen with anyone. If you should want to understand the feeling it’s in a song by Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton, “Feels Like Home to Me”. It has the ability to open the tear ducts.
Yet what is it that’s just below the surface? The glue that holds us together, in fact. Well the love is based on things that I never allowed myself to look at or listen to previously. It’s not fleeting and, somewhat, physical as my relationships tended to be in the past, although it has its moments. I, the noisy one, who tended to ride roughshod over others’ feelings, have learnt to listen to this quiet one whose actions can convey more than her words. She may do very good Buster Keaton expressions but, if you stop and listen, there is an enormous amount of feeling there. About injustice (this, a quiet rage, in fact), a concern for others, especially those less fortunate, a determination to do the right thing irrespective of the personal cost, a love of family and a whole lot more besides.
Over the past couple of years when I’ve been trying to build a new career, it has, largely, been her income as a teacher that has kept us afloat. Well, that may be about to change; he said, with fingers crossed, not counting his chickens and holding tightly onto a large piece of wood. Gaynor has been thinking about changing her own career again (yes, we have that in common too), and started studying for an RHS Diploma in Horticulture. We both kept our eyes and ears open for other jobs and she has now been shortlisted for one. I won’t say which as they would be stretching our luck too far. What I will say is that it’s in just the sort of community and environmental work that has been the best part of my own working life. So, it appears that we also have that in common. Whatever the outcome, it may be that the die has been cast.
So, scratch the skin of opposites and you may find that they have a lot more in common than you imagined.