Opinion

Some things in life should be guaranteed

On Monday night, I learned there is no such thing as a guarantee. I learned it in a very unpleasant way.

As I was searching through the caller ID on our phone, I saw one of my best friends in the whole world had called. Her husband is serving overseas, so naturally I was eager to call her and make sure she was doing OK.

After the usual “How-do-you-dos” were out of the way, I asked about her husband and if she had heard from him lately.

“To tell you the truth, we’re separated.”

I know you’re separated, I thought. He’s in ... wait a minute _______

By the time I realized what she was saying, she was telling me his things — his clothes, his CDs, all the things they had acquired in their near-decade long marriage — were packed in boxes in her new garage, which she moved to while he was overseas.

“It’s better to have our stuff divided up now, rather than when he gets home,” she said. It seemed like she was trying to convince both of us at the same time.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. We met in July 1996, when my husband, Bryan, and I got married on Fernandina Beach, Fla. Yes, on the beach: swimsuits and all.

My husband was on a submarine out of Subase Kings Bay in St. Marys, Ga. and Bryan and my friend’s husband were on the same crew.

Every time the guys would go out to sea, she and another friend of ours would keep each other sane. We’d get together on Thursday nights (usually at my house because I had the cappuccino maker) and watch the Thursday night lineup. We’d drive down to Jacksonville, Fla. almost every weekend. We’d watch chick flicks together, and that proves what good friends they are because I don’t really like chick flicks. And we’d talk about our husbands. That’s what women do.

We were all intertwined. Instead of three separate marriages, it was like we were all the same couple, in a way. We celebrated holidays together, we laughed and cried together.

And just like that, it’s over.

Granted, I hadn’t seen her since September 1999, when we all went our separate ways. Bryan and I moved to Goose Creek, S.C., so Bryan could serve a stint at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit. One of the other couples had transferred there six months earlier. The other husband in our trio got out of the Navy and moved out here to the West Coast.

I’m stunned.

Here’s a glimpse into a woman’s psyche: when one of our friend’s marriage ends, we take it personally. We mentally go over every second we spent with that couple and wonder if there was anything we could have done to prevent it, if there were any signs we could have picked up on.

I can’t fathom the pain she must be going through. What do you say to a dear friend when you find out her marriage is over? I’m sorry? I hope it gets better? I feel bad that the relationship in which you had so much time and intimacy invested fell apart?

I decided, for the first time in my life, to keep my mouth shut and just listen. That’s also when I realized nothing in life is guaranteed, although some things should be.

I decided to grab onto my husband and to never let go. I will never let an opportunity pass to tell him I love him or let him know he’s appreciated.

After I told Bryan the news, I told him something else.

“I love you, Bryan.”

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