When I got engaged to Deb*, it was not long after the movie Titanic came out. It had seemed to me that if Jack and Rose had discussed what their actions should be in the unlikely event that the ship started to sink, things would have gone much more smoothly (albeit with a boring ending). And isn’t this exactly the sort of thing couples should talk about (along with vacations with in-laws) well before the situation arises? Just saying.
So one day at lunch…
ME: “Honey, you saw Titanic, right?”
DEB: “Sure. Didn’t everybody?”
ME: “I was thinking. I’m not saying it will ever happen, but if it does, and it’s women and children first or whatever, anyway if there’s space for you and not me, I think it makes the most sense for you to just get in the lifeboat when the time comes and not argue. Okay?”
I go back to my salad. Eventually it dawns on me that Deb hasn’t given me her wholehearted agreement. I look up at her, and there are tears in her eyes.
DEB: “I am not going to do that. I am not going to just walk away, not after I’ve waited my whole life for someone like you to come along. If there’s only room for one of us, then we stay together. If our kids** are with us, we make sure they get in the boat. If someone needs life jackets, we give them ours. If someone needs comforting, we hug them and tell them everything will be okay, especially if we know that it won’t. And when the end comes we’ll be together for it, like we’re going to be together for the rest of our lives, one way or another. So I’m not going to get into any lifeboat. Not without you.”
The subject never came up again.
*Okay, yes, it’s a conversation with my fiancee. Close enough. My series, my rules.
**Nieces and nephews, we didn’t and don’t have kids of our own.