Marathon of Marriage

It starts with a kiss.  A gunshot, followed by fireworks.  At the alter , the starting line is painted on the road,  there is cheering, cake and confetti.  The finish line is so far away.  A white ribbon dances on the breeze.  Tied between two bronze petioles, it waits for my wife and I to break it.  Muddy, freshly dug dirt litters the ground.  When the marathon of marriage is over, a casket is the medal that will hang over our shoulders.

The crowd, is often larger than the contestants.  I have learned 13 years into marriage, that it is a team sport.  She and I, are in it against ourselves and the world.  Everyday, I put one foot in front of the other.  We try to learn, more than we fail.  We have to stay together.  If I wander off of the path, I could fall in a ravine, get run over, or fall into the bushes and let fatigue and leg cramps make me quit.

The crowd yells.

“Most marriages fail!”

“Give up!”

“Upgrade!”

We run the marathon.

My left foot is bloody.  My sock squishes with every step.  I run with a limp, but I am still running.  I shot myself in the foot awhile ago.  She picked me up.  We cried for a moment, then we got back to it.  She looks at the crowd, and asks, “Why are you running with me?”

“I asked God for a wife.” I say smiling.  “He delivered.  How can I complain, or think of replacing that blessing?”

She insists we pause, for another kiss.  A drink of water.  Then we are running again.

As years go by, we push baby strollers, and pull wagons.  It is harder, tougher, more fatigue, and yet, we run the marathon.

The crowd yells.

“Men are terrible, evil, and vile!”

I glance into the crowd and see all of the kids standing without dads.  Wives with out husbands.  I squeeze my wives hand.  I have no value without her.  She tells me to ignore them.  We run the marathon.

Years fall off of the calendar.  We trot, slow and steady.  We are a team.  The hands of the crowd reach out.  Women ask me for hugs, they want to run their fingers through my hair, they want me to listen to their stories.  If I stop running, we fail.  I belong to my wife.  She wins my heart every day until the day I die.  We move to the middle of the street.  It is just us and the race.  The sound of the crowd is drowned out by the rubber of our shoes, rhythmically caressing the road, forever, to the end.

We run the marathon.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

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