I’ve been married forty-four years to Tom and have heard all his stories a kajillion times.  Like the story when that doctor in Minneapolis told him he had gonorrhea when he actually had bursitis.  And that time when he was fourteen and had a solo piano recital where he was to play an abbreviated version of Grieg’s piano concerto and he began an octave low and ran out of piano keys.  And how his parents dragged him around to quacks looking for hay fever cures, which included sticking radium up his nose and a serum made out of his own urine that he had to shoot into his leg with a hypodermic needle.  Not only do I know these stories as if they were my own, but I even know what prompt will get him to repeat a story.  Marriage can be tedious.

And yet.  One morning this week, I was burrowing into the pile of clothes on the carpet next to my side of the bed looking for my bra.  “Where is my bra?” I asked Tom, as if he should know. 

He stood watching my frenzied search. “What would you do if you found out I’d been wearing your underwear all these years?” he asked me.

This is the kind of speculative question that I find sexy in a man.  It made me happy to think of my aging husband prancing in my underwear for forty-four years without my noticing.  I laughed out loud.

Other speculative questions that have kept us happy on cross-country car trips:  What if we had to go into witness protection?  Where would we live?  What aliases would we use?  (I prefer presidential names like James and Anne Roosevelt.  He prefers German names like Heinz and Gretel Holzhacker).

And this one kept us going for years:  after finding that inmates in the Utah State Penitentiary can each have two plug-in appliances, which two would we pick if we had to spend some time there?

Forty-four years of marriage isn’t that long if you have ridiculous questions that need days of focused attention.  I love my man.