Sunday, January 16, 2011
While in Spain over New Years, Daniel and I made enough traveling plans to las us a decade. We also spent time deciding on an object we can look for in every country to which we travel. Something, a commemorative object of sorts, that we can hang in our someday home that we can tell our someday children about...
"That clock is from this beautiful artisan market outside the Royal Palace in Madrid," we might say to them someday.
"...See the green one with the swinging ticker?"
That's from Brazil when we went to watch the World Cup Soccer tournament. Or from Poland or Portugal or wherever it is we end up next.
But amidst the sickeningly-sweet, lovey-dovey planning of our new traveling collection, I've only been able to think one thing:
"Oh. No. We've become a clock collecting couple. We are now officially that cheesy couple that appears so in love it sort of makes everyone else around them a little queasy from all the love juices oozing between the two like goo." And I can't seem to get over the idea.
My God. We've started a clock collection.
A collection to show our grandkids.
A collection to fill a special wall when we have a house.
But even still, amidst all of that, the idea of our clock sort of enlivens me. I can't quite ignore the fact that I am completely embracing the idea that we, as a couple, have become clock collectors over these last weeks, commencing the hunt for a new clock with every new trip we take. That it is absolutely cheesy and I love it.
That we did find an incredible little ticker made of clay and fired in a kiln not unlike my grandmother's. That clocks, in themselves are representative of it all: the timespan of beginnings and endings, of certain eras in our lives, of live and death- of endlessness and the cyclical nature of all things.
While the analytical portion of my literary mind would perhaps like to continue with these muses, the socially conscious side of me knows quite well the threshold that an audience has for such things. So I'll stop there with the clock metaphors, but do brace yourself, because there's more.
"Think of the clock like our relationship. So, if it breaks on our way home, we know now that we're not going to make it. You just have to trust that I've packed it well enough."
That's what Daniel said to me as we entered the airport in Madrid.
I laughed and shook my head; as if we are uncertain of where we're going or wether we'll end up together.
But through this realization that we are now proud owners of a 25€ clock, it was hardly shocking or frightening in an "I don't want to be married anymore"/Eat Pray Love kind of way. If anything, it made me embrace the solidity of my relationship even more than the six months and various weeks we have spent apart from one another.
However, it did, for some reason seem more of a committed gesture than an engagement ring. In today's era, jewelry comes and goes and is significant only in the representation of a marriage or an engagement; and it seems that so many fall apart. A clock collection, however, is something you add to over time, that changes the landscape of your walls. It moves, not only circularly as the collection's ticking hands, but also outward as the collection grows, creeping along the walls of our eventual house. Though we bought the clock in a covered artisan booth in a row of similar shops, near a statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, it was somehow intimate and romantic and significant. Though it wasn't a ring, it interestingly felt like we took some kind of unspoken oath, or made some sort of silent promise to each other as our clock was being bound in brown packing tape and bubble wrap. Covered safely in red paper and stored carefully in Danny's computer bag for the flight home, it feels like we made some other kind of journey over the last ten days.
From my drunken crying on New Years Eve, to the patience it took my dear boyfriend to trudge up and down the streets of Bilbao searching for the perfect New Year's getup because the dresses I brought were still packed away somewhere in my suitcase that remained somewhere between the airports of New York, Madrid and Bilbao.
If taking four hours with your (for the moment) vain, crazed girlfriend to go shopping while your friends polish off four bottles of wine and several rounds of beer along the ocean isn't love, then I'm not quite sure what is.
There are some days, like the morning of New Years Eve, where I am positively sure Daniel loves me more than I could possibly love him back, and sometimes, I think he loves me more than I even love myself.
But he does this, because he knows that I'll eventually come to my senses several hours later, and I'll apologize over cappuccinos for the selfishness that usurped what was supposed to be a lofty, sweetly drunken afternoon. We'll join our friends in our new clothes, and drink Calimochos to ring in the new year until the sun comes up around seven o'clock and we ride the metro home in the clouds.
And then, after several days, several drinks and twenty-some hours of travel, we'll go home and hang the clock in the stairwell of my apartment. It's burnt, brown, clay face will clash with the rest of the vintage decor already posted around the place, but it will stand proudly as a swirling reminder of what we believe in and why we believe in one another.
And certainly, the who idea remains a cheesy scheme, but it's really of no importance to us.