"Take a look at this." I said hefting my laptop over to my wife. We were sitting in bed and she was watching Monk. "No," she said, "I want to watch this." "C'mon," I said, "It's really short. It won't take long to read." She took the computer reluctantly and started reading what I had written. I watched her face intently waiting for the moment where she would break into a fit of laughter. She scanned the screen for a few seconds before handing it back to me. "Uh-huh." she said flatly, "That's funny." I took the computer back, staring at her with my mouth open. "That's it?!" I said indignantly. She shrugged her shoulders, "What? I said it was funny." "Yeah but humans usually laugh when something is funny." "I smiled." She said. "Good grief woman! That there is comedy gold!" I said poking at the glowing screen. "Hunny." She began, "We've been married nearly eleven years now. And before that I knew you for another sixteen. I've heard all of your jokes." "What?!" I protested, "I've never said that joke before!" "Yeah." she said, "But I can tell from how they start, where they're going to end up. I still love you though." She said stroking my face gently. I blinked at her for several seconds before saying, "That's crap and I want a divorce." "I know." She said, "Can I finish watching this now?" She pressed the play button on Tivo before waiting for a response.

When I was single I had two sure-fire ways to tell if I would end up having sex with a woman. (As "sure-fire" as one can be when anticipating sex from a woman. Which is to say that it probably worked once or twice.) It started when I showed up to pick them up. If they dressed like they were trying to impress me, I knew my chances were pretty good. Throughout the rest of the date I would get them to talk about themselves by asking a lot of questions, thereby giving them a false sense of intimacy. Most often I ended up knowing a great deal about them but they knew very little about me. "I don't know what it is about you." They would say, "But I feel so close to you." "I know." I would say softly, "I know."

I used this tactic on my first official date with Tricia. When I went to pick her up however, she was dressed in jeans and a casual top. "Dammit!" I thought, "What the hell does that mean?" After the movie, (Poetic Justice, which she said was absolutely craptastic. She was right.) we ended up at Denny's. (In case you're wondering why we ended up at Denny's, there's a simple explanation. I was broke.) I started asking my typical Barrage-O-Questions™ Shortly into my interview she stopped me. "I'm not answering any more of your damn questions until you tell me more about yourself."

Shit.

Checkmate.

It was as if she had x-ray vision. That's when I knew I was in trouble.

My wife is fond of telling me, "I know you better than you know yourself." The truth is, she probably does. Most often, she knows what I'm going to do even before I do. It's not that I'm extremely predictable. The fact is, my wife is damn near clairvoyant and she is this way with everyone she meets. I happen to be married to her so I receive the greatest amount of exposure. Although some folks find that quality a bit unsettling, I take quite a bit of comfort in it. She sees me for who I truly am and she doesn't flinch.

The other night I was up late packing for a business trip out of town. I sat in the living room amid baskets of clothes searching for clean underwear. My wife laid on the couch sleeping lightly. I paused to take her in. There she was. The same saffron colored skin. The same high cheekbones and the same almond shaped eyes I fell in love with so many years ago. "Why are you down here?" I asked. "Because you're down here." She said without even opening her eyes.

When my plane landed, I called to let her know I had arrived safely. When she answered, she greeted me in the same familiar way. "Hello husband." she said, her voice lilting warmly through the phone. Yes, I thought. I am her husband. She is my wife.

And I am a very lucky man.

Happy Birthday Tricia.

I love you. Madly.

Read a @#&*%@$ Book

The Eternal Struggle

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