You and I are Great and Wedding Aerosmith Makes People (Me) Cry

I have had to tough out weddings and birthdays and dinner parties solo for one year, two months and 27 days. I have had countless moments where I've cried, blubbered about it being too hard, laid in bed late on a Sunday morning with Paul trying hard to figure out how to make things better, but it always ends in a waiting game. May. Paul will find 1st shift work then and he will be done with school and I will be one month away from a ceasefire also known as a teachers summer. It sounds a million years away, too many weekend nights where normal couples are watching movies and double dating and fighting about where to have dinner.
I just want the blissful boring Wednesday evening grocery trip back. And I wince seeing couples there holding hands in the bread aisle while I'm still trying to reason out why we're still waiting til May to change back into a real couple.

I'm getting edgy, and not in the way that I'm totally pulling off short purple hair. It's in a scary way, like I don't have a lot of (zero) patience for my incredibly emotionally taxing job of guiding the next generation to not want to throw Lincoln logs at each other. Most days, it makes me wish for another life. I feel like I'm playing out the plot line of a really bad made-for-TV movie where the protagonist is chain smoking while driving to her job as a cashier at Menards in her dusty white Taurus and she frowns a lot and listens to country radio and has a really terrible boyfriend and a flip phone. And its hot and she has no A/C and she's constantly rolling down the manual windows. And there is always that scene where she lingers in her white Taurus and stares at the lit-up Menards sign and in that moment you know she just wants to start driving west, or whichever direction feels like freedom to her. I do that all the time but I pretend its because I'm listening to a story on NPR. I'm really just trying figure out how to WANT to go to work. And sometimes I wish I could afford to be a cashier.

I had this burning heart to teach in the inner city since grad school, something I have not given up on quite yet. I am a special education teacher to three 1st graders, three 2nd graders, four 3rd graders and two 4th graders. They are with me all day and have a revolving door of needs that I am finally admitting that I cannot meet on my own, not even on a really good hair day. But I try. Really hard. That takes up the majority of my emotional competence and there's really not much left at the end of the day, let alone end of the week.
This job has tested me in ways that I've never felt possible. I have blamed myself, lost confidence completely, became angry at "the system", which all has the same ending, 12 hungry, tired, angry, sad, lost, confused, lonely, unmotivated faces staring at me every single day.
It doesn't end there.
I come home to an empty house where I sit in our oversized armchair that always feels too big. Sometimes I have soup for dinner and watch TV. Other days I just stare and hope that something will stop this constant sinking feeling that I want another life.

I know. It's pathetic and I'm a whiney baby head. I should be thankful we both have jobs, we are healthy, we aren't starving, blah blah blah. But I'm fairly certain that most people marry/settle down to partly have a date to things like weddings and funerals and birthday dinners with new coworker friends or just to have dinner with another human. Frankly, it starts to get pretty self-loathing and depressing and toxic around here. So when we were invited to another wedding that Paul couldn't attend, I decided to go by myself.

Not completely. I had people to meet before and walk in with so I didn't look like an actual DWF. I tricked myself into thinking I wasn't alone so I could make it to the door.
When I walked in, I immediately checked the seating assignments. And there it was: Ronau, Sarah, party of pathetic 1. My heart sank. I felt widowed.

We walked around the banquet hall decked out in wintry Christmas trees to the tune of oldies love songs, looking around the room at the arriving couples. I was incredibly lucky to be in the company of two single people who didn't need to remind me of what I was missing. We drank coffee and looked at pictures of the couple and took way too early photobooth pictures and finally settled into our table 38.

The standard wedding formula was followed. Announcement of the bridal party. Color-coordinated couples pranced across the dance floor to "Let Me Clear My Throat" and we all stood applauding while the couple of the night trotted in. As they all took their seat on stage at a giant rectangle table, the maid of honor stood up and said something short and very sweet while the intoxicated best man rambled on for thirty minutes about the groom's previous escapades involving setting shoes on fire and being a Subway sandwich artist and writing bad poetry (rhyming breast with west) and vomiting in an orange wig.
Raise a glass.
Wine and beer.
First dances.
Photobooth line bloats.
Wine and beer.
Wine and beer.
Someone singing "Stroke It"
Dancing pictures to Backstreet Boys.
Wine and beer.
And then it happened: a slow dance to Aerosmith.
I hate Aerosmith.
But it was the first time Aerosmith had me tearing up in the bathroom wishing I had someone to slow dance with to that stupid song from that asteroid movie.

It's not that I cannot be without Paul. It's not even that I can't go to a wedding without him. It's that I don't want to and I shouldn't have to.
And we are great.
Like really great.
We are great dancers and we are funny and don't drink too much and always remember to say nice things to each other and love our families. We give thoughtful gifts. We care a lot about each other and others and the planet and animals. We live in a space where we both count and we share everything good and everything bad that happens. And forgive me if I sound like a spoiled princess, but if anyone deserves to slow dance to Aerosmith after eating fried chicken, it's us after this one year two months and 27 days without it, going to jobs we loathe just so we can share a duplex for 13 hours on the weekends.


In 102 days, we will rep the Yonaus again, at your local grocery bread aisle. We will dance to the terrible music they play at Kroger on Wednesday nights and throw non-breakable groceries in the moving grocery cart, like some sort of basketball carnival game where we don't win anything and we never stop laughing at me always missing. And we'll fight over bread, that the healthy stuff never tastes good with pb&j, and splurge on ice cream if we're stressed out over money, and he'll take my keys because I hate driving at night and we'll make cheeseburger pie with fake meat because I don't like eating animals always and doze off to trashy TV and he'll take off my glasses before I fall asleep and we'll wake up together and do it all again. Forever and ever until we are dead.
And right now, I don't want to think about anything else.