wedding vows in action

We wrote our own wedding vows. Contrary to what you might expect, mine were full of well-considered guidelines of behaviour for our future, and special k vowed to love me beneath a mountain, by a forest, under a moon.

One of my vows was this:

I will not mistake success or failure in our lives for the success or failure of our marriage.

Today I went for an interview at the Big Issue for a part-time editorial position. I didn’t get the job.

When special k came home, he cuddled me for a while. He told me that it isn’t nice to have someone say, “No. Not you.” Then we cooked dinner together. We carefully planned how we would stuff the zucchini flowers with mozzarella then dip them in beer batter and deep fry them. I watched with admiration as he added the pasta to mushrooms and tomato cooked in shallots and garlic, and he cheered me on as I fried the prawns.

We were closed in the kitchen in the kind of warm camaraderie that autumn brings. I tentatively allowed myself to think, “At least I still have this,” which was when I remembered my wedding vow.

It’s an odd feeling, an odd equation that the human heart makes. I did not succeed today, it says. Therefore I do not deserve the unreserved comfort and enjoyment of home.

I knew, when I wrote that vow, that it would be a hard one to live by. But today I did, and I feel triumphant.

Comments 5 Responses

  1. Alex

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t get the job but I’m glad to hear that the vow held true. It’s refreshing to see someone actually think back to the promises they made then.

    PS: The stuffed zucchinis sound lovely!
    PPS: have you finished Checkmate?

    1. anna cowan Post author

      thank you, Alex! I spent so much time writing those damn vows, it’d be a shame if I didn’t let them guide me a little every now and then 🙂

      I DID finish Checkmate, sigh. My reply to your initial comments about the love story are here. I have to say, having some distance from it, I’m less satisfied than I would have expected. My number one gripe is that even though Phillipa gets him in the end, I never feel like WE do. He’s still just as remote and unknowable. And somehow in those last happy scenes he’s someone new, not Lymond. My other gripe is that the moment of capitulation – the moment where Phillipa lets go of her fears – feels clunky. If she’d seen him ride over the rise and just run straight into his arms, I would totally have gotten it. I felt just as relieved to see him as she did, at that moment. But the fact that Dunnett narrates her change of heart made it feel so much more contrived than it should have done. (An odd mistake, for the queen of subtext and restraint.) As for the angst, though, I kinda loved it.

      oh, and deep-fried, stuffed zucchini flowers – so good.

  2. Cheryl Nekvapil

    Did you say anything about closing and opening doors?? Someone who was very cross with me once said to me that when one door closes, another one opens — closing doors don’t feel good inside — opening ones are not always noticeable — what a lovely open door you’ve got there in your little autumn kitchen.

    1. anna cowan Post author

      were they cross with you for being pessimistic? I’m just trying to imagine what context would make someone give such positive advice in anger! It was a door-opening moment, if I think about it. There was a definite invitation to cross to the other side where home was a magical place unaffected by the trials and tribulations of things not-home.

  3. Cheryl Nekvapil

    She was cross and the door was one she was closing on our friendship — so I felt pessimistic I suppose and she felt like going through that new door that was opening and I certainly was not invited to go with her. That felt like I was sitting in a room with closed dorrs, wondering where the one was to the kitchen!

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