Opposite Sides Of The Same Coin

Posted: June 29, 2011 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

A few days after last July’s first friday art walk, I called my friend who had gone with us.  I suspected he had seen what I had seen that evening and that he would confirm what I was thinking.  I asked him over the phone, “Are you as confused as I am about why my wife and I are separated?”

“Definitely,” he told me.  “You guys are one.  You’re opposite sides of the same coin.”  I loved that phrase.  I actually told my wife that he said that soon afterward, but I didn’t think she had really paid any attention to it.   In fact, I forgot all about it until she brought it up during the restoration tour.

Right after we got back together, I completed my first triathlon, and my wife was training for her first full marathon.  Once the triathlon was over, I was looking for a new challenge, and we decided to train for some 10K races.  There were two in October – one in Springfield near our loft, and one in St. Louis close to our anniversary.

When we looked into the Halloween 10K in St, Louis, we found out that it’s not just a race.  It’s a fun event where many people run in costumes, there are props and Halloween themed scenes along the route, and a costume contest after the race.  We knew we wanted to be part of it, and we knew we wanted to run in costumes, but we didn’t know what to dress up as.

We kicked around different ideas, but nothing really stood out.  Then one day, my wife said, “Why don’t we go as opposite sides of the same coin?”  I was thrilled that she had remembered that and still thought about it, but I wasn’t sure how you could make a costume out of that.  I asked her, and as always, she had a great idea.

We cut out circles of cardboard and painted them silver.  Then she used a black marker and a projector at school to trace the features of a quarter on each, heads on one and tails on the other.  We used a Missouri quarter because it has the St. Louis Arch on the back of it.  We dressed in all black with the quarters attached to the front of our shirts.  We printed each half of the phrase on different sheets of paper, and attached them in sheet protectors to our backs.

We probably looked pretty silly and they were really unprofessional costumes, but we couldn’t have been happier with them.  We got people to take pictures of us in the hotel lobby and at the race.  It was a great experience and one that we look forward to making an annual tradition.  The only negative about it was that I injured my knee a few weeks beforehand, and ended up having to walk part of it and cross the finish line in a lot of pain.

Even that ended up being a blessing, because my wife refused to run on ahead and leave my side.  I kept telling her not to let me ruin the race for her, and she just kept saying, “We’re together.”  She stayed with me every step of the way, and we joined hands for the last few steps as we crossed the finish line.  Our times were not even close to competitive, but that didn’t matter.  Everything about the race was symbolic of what had changed between us since getting back together.

What had changed was everything.  It continues to amaze me that my wife is so different now.  When you’ve been with someone for more than a decade, you think you know everything about them.  You assume that you know how they will react, and what they will do at any given time, but everything was new and different.  It’s true that opposites do attract.  My wife and I are very different from each other, but it takes the two sides to make the one coin.

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