How do you keep the music playing?
How do you make it last?
How do keep the song from fading too fast?
“How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman
The Rocket Scientist and I were married in 1983. This was our song, of sorts. It captured the fear of two people entering into the most intimate and emotionally charged relationship of their lives.
How do you lose yourself to someone
And never lose your way?
How do you not run out of new things to say?
We married young, at least by today’s standards. We were engaged in college, and were married one month after I graduated. We didn’t know what we were getting into. We realized this. We got married anyway.
We had to fight to get married. His family, and my priest, were dead set against it. We got married anyway.
And since we know we’re always changing
How can it be the same?
And tell me how year after year you’re sure your heart will fall apart
Each time you hear my name
Today is not an anniversary. It is not thirty-two years since we met, or twenty-nine since we got married. The memories came to mind today because on iTunes I discovered a version of this song by Tony Bennett and Aretha Franklin which I love much more than the original by James Ingram and Patti Austin. It is sung by people who are older and wiser both than we were at the time and even than we are now. People older than us still asking those same questions.
I know the way you feel for me
is now or never
The more I love the more I am afraid
That in your eyes I may not see forever
The fear is still there, at the back of my mind. I don’t think it ever completely goes away for most people.
Relationships change. Ours is no exception. You cannot see forever in people’s eyes; it is simply a good thing to see today. The heart no longer falls apart at the mention of a name. But that does not mean the end: the energy new relationships have mutates and deepens into a different sort of strength. Once you weather enough storms, you find equilibrium. And God knows, we have had our storms, our pain, our share of train wrecks.
I can’t say we will be married forever. Contrary to the fairy tales, I think that is an unrealistic thing for most people to say. I know or have heard of too many couples that got divorced after being together even longer than we have. Life happens; people change. The world around you becomes a different place. You become a different person.
I do know this, however. If tomorrow I were to walk away, or he were, soon I would be on the phone or IM or sending emails seeking solace or counsel or just a laugh — or he will. He will probably always be my best friend,* and I his, regardless of our status as as partners or even a romantic couple.
If we can be the best of lovers
And be the best of friends
The music never ends
I don’t think we’ve done half-bad.
Love you, babe.
*And hopefully traveling companion. Unlike a lot of couples, we travel very well together. We both love seeing new places and having adventures, and have the capacity to roll with the punches. I have often told him that if we got divorced, I would still want to travel with him.