My wife* was sitting about four inches away from me. My in-laws and their friends were sitting around us. The fireworks were loud and colorful as usual. For years this 4th of July ritual filled me with happiness and hope. I always used to sorta get lost with the noise and pretend that I was watching the fireworks next to someone I love. This time, I just had to pretend that the someone I love was my friend and nothing else.
This wasn’t my first time meeting the in-laws but every time gets more interesting than the prior one. We decided it would be a good idea to come down to Arizona and relax for a week, while my mother-in-law decided that a pool party on the 4th of July was what we needed. My idea of relax is certainly different from hers. Don’t get me wrong, a pool party DOES sound nice, but not when a bunch of people I’ve never met before are coming. Actually, scratch that, I’ll take the strangers- but when I have to be “the friend” to please the strangers, that’s another deal.
Every one introduces themselves and their spouses and their kids and the grandchildren… while I’m just a friend. But here’s the thing, I’m not just a friend. I’m proud of my girl and the same way these strangers like to talk about how their kids went to Sweden, I wanna talk about how my girl and I are going to UCLA and how we got a new apartment and whatever else we’re going through with our lives. Okay maybe I didn’t care that much to talk about ourselves, I just wanted to hold my wife’s hand while watching the fireworks.
Maybe next year will be different. There’s always next year.
* Technically, we’re only partners, but she’s my wife whether the state, country or world recognizes us as such or not.