It happened so subtlety that I hardly noticed. One day I was married to a malleable man who tucked in his shirts and relinquished some rights over t-shirts . I can remember an argument over hospital greens as pajamas. I had ideas of proper bedroom attire. Visions of what married life should look like were deeply embedded.
It might have been the addition of children....they do distract. One day, Ken was gone and in his place I was married to Norman. Norman is a likable guy. He laughs at jokes, especially when they involve bodily functions. Norman does not change his jeans very often....and he does not tuck in his shirt.....and he wears geeky, yet trendy glasses. Norman always wears a t-shirt that has something to do with motorcycles. Norman also has tattoos and he plays in a band....and even at 50, he loves the scene. Ken was more conservative. We used to hang out with friends drinking copious amounts of coffee. The transformation to Norman took years. It began with writing a music zine. Ken shied away from notoriety and so he used Norman, his middle name, as his pseudonym. It was Norman Anonymous at first...until he sent away for a card that certified he was Reverend Norman of some kind of Baptist Church from Tula Vista, California. His moniker became Reverend Norman....and over the years has morphed to others - Motorcycho Norman, and who knows what behind his back.
In the blink of an eye this morning, as we rounded onto the Queensboro Bridge on two wheels, I realized that I have had two husbands, but one marriage. The man inside stayed the same and the things I married him for are more pronounced. It is the idea of the marriage that required the change.
Every now and then Norman suggests he wants to grow a really long and bushy beard. I am horrified at the thought. When I examine why, it has little to do with the scruff or the roughness, and more to do with the attention it would draw to me. That still is way outside my realm of normalcy. I have come more than halfway in this marriage. I am shocked by my tolerance sometimes. More than 18 bikes...innumerable trips...both on a bike and about a bike. The beard is the one stand I feel necessary to take. It is my tipping point perhaps....the place where I know that I have sacrificed more than I can. It has all the appearance of my shallowness, yet my resolve on this does not have logic. There are things on his forbidden list for me. Rolling eyes are my signal of something he hates. I respect that. I also respect that although I married Ken....I love Norman with all my heart.