We put the doctor’s letter in a safe place and went on with our lives.
At the time, we were both working at an upscale Italian restaurant. One night during the holiday season, my husband got an ocular migraine at the height of a dinner rush, and my mind went to new places. I wasn’t a person who got migraines, so I had never taken these headaches seriously before, but now that I knew about aneurysms, all I could think, however irrationally, was about him dying suddenly.
I rushed around trying to serve my customers; the bar was packed, and we had a line out the door. The other bartenders took over, shaking martini canisters over their heads, while our manager ushered my husband out from behind the bar.
“Don’t worry, Dar,” he said to me, his shorthand for darling, “I’ll be fine!”
And he was, after several Advil and 20 minutes alone in a back room. But my hands had gone cold, and my insides trembled.
Several nights later, while setting up the dining room with a few other servers, I expressed my fear that my husband would die young. It felt more like a certainty to me that I had to prepare for, but I had no idea how. A waiter friend said, “You have nothing to complain about, Carol. You found your soul mate, the love of your life. The rest of us may never find what you have.”
How did he know? Because it was true: From the moment my husband and I first kissed, I had the feeling that he and I had been trying to reach each other for centuries. That we had lived past lives with arms outstretched, always yearning for the other, but for reasons tragic and outside of our control — war, famine, feuds — we were never able to be together.
This was probably my overly dramatic brain at work — my husband and I were actors when we met — but I couldn’t help it. This lifetime with him felt like a prize at the end of a series of trials where, finally, we got to enjoy married bliss.