Nineteen Years Ago Today

Nineteen years ago today, I stood on the banks of the Río Frío and exchanged wedding vows with the sweetest, smartest, funniest guy I’ve met. In front of our family and friends, we promised our bond would be unbroken in this adventure called life. We met while we studied in Austin. To respect the miracle that was that first conversation at a party by the food table, not in California where he was from, or Minnesota where I grew up, but in the Lone Star State, we got hitched in Texas. He wore his black Western suit, white shirt and bolo tie, I dressed a la mexicana, and both wore cowboy boots.

When we were dating, I told him I would go live in South America for a year after I graduated. He looked at me questioning, “What about us?” I shrugged, “Come along.” Two years after we were married, our dream came true and we lived 14 months in Santiago, Chile. There, my husband kept his end of our bargain to become well-versed in his spouse’s second language. He learned excellent conversational Spanish. I have yet to learn his, Calculus…

Among the scrub cedar of the Texas Hill Country to the Araucaria of Parque Huerquehue in Pucón, we’ve gone on countless hikes. I know to have rugged gear and boots for the day and carry a change of clothes; a dress and strappy sandals for dinner attire. We love food and dining in Chile was a pleasure; fresh fish and excellent wait staff abounded. Our third anniversary, we called ahead to order dragonboat and clay pot dishes at an imperial Chinese restaurant posing as a Chilean fast food place three blocks from our apartment. Earlier that year we noticed the food at the tables frequented by Chinese consulate dignitaries at the Buena Mesa restaurant was galaxies different than the meat and potatoes we’d eaten there. It was well worth ordering a day ahead of time for the chefs to prepare the dishes. That was a memorable and most delicious meal.

When we returned to the US, we moved to Madison. We attended, then hosted a Spanish conversation group with dear friends we met hablando español. With them we created an annual Mexican-style Day of the Dead party in our home (Día de los Muertos) to honor those who have passed on. People costumed as Benazir Bhutto, Steve Irwin, Steve Jobs, Salvador Dalí, David Bowie, Prince, Whitney Houston, Joan of Arc, and Elvis… have attended in the past.

Nearly two decades later, my husband has loved me through my good days and bad. After five years of measuring basal temperatures daily, spring of 2008 on a Mexican vacation we became pregnant with our child. My partner and I danced cheek to cheek in our last tango class six months before the birth. From our first romantic Texas two-step in a church parking lot, we’ve learned to dance in glowing health, hobbling or with non-Hodgkins; whether our child is laughing or crying, keeping our frame flexible yet firm. Our embrace remains unbroken as the rings we created for one another. Mi amor, this love’s for you.

P.S. I love algebra, will you teach me Calculus?

Gracias for reading! Olé! -Rebecca

Para leer este ensayo en español, haz un clic en Hace diecinueve años en esta fecha…

Rebecca Cuningham

16 thoughts on “Nineteen Years Ago Today

  1. “Dreams are what guide us, art is what defines us, math is what makes it all possible, and love is what lights our way.” – Mike Norton

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s