I was out for the first run of the season when I came across the locks. They’ve been here for a few years but I’ve been inside for months so seeing them today felt brand new. They took my breath away.
I was overcome with memories of romance, of new love, young marriages, and the impetus toward a gesture like this. I thought about all the proposals, the engagement parties, and the champagne. I felt so old and passé.
Love at 38 with two kids is so hard. Impossible, sometimes. It can feel like there’s no space for it. Like we spend all our time talking about groceries or dinner, or budgets and who needs new shoes, or who’s picking up which kid at what time and why doesn’t the door lock properly and maybe we should get out of this city already but where should we go?
And we’re so tired.
And we have personal goals but no personal time.
And every breath of privacy ends in frustration because someone is crying or screaming or hitting. It doesn’t always feel like I imagined love would.
Once I asked my late grandmother how she maintained a 60 year, till-death-do-us-part marriage. She told me that there were long stretches of time (one as long as ten years) where she couldn’t stand my grandfather but she stayed because he was hers and she was his. “Love comes and goes,” she told me, “But it’s not about love anyway. We’re a team.”
And I think that’s what adult love is. It’s not windswept or cute. It’s not blushing and butterflies. It’s partnership. It’s easier together. It’s a fresh pot of coffee that I didn’t make. It’s a bottle of dish detergent just a text message away. It’s Sunday night tv and sharing the responsibility of finding Teddy’s missing blankee.
Somehow the Hoboken locks make sense. Because in the end or in the middle, by hook or by crook, we’re locked in, watching the skyline, surrounded by friends, enduring the weather and enjoying the sunshine.