real life

"Why I didn't marry my best friend".

 

 

Robyn O'Bryant

I’m going to need everyone who has posted a Facebook status along the lines of, “Happy Anniversary to my best friend and the love of my life!” to form a line, so that in an orderly fashion, I can walk down said line and thump each of you right in the middle of your foreheads.

It was the summer of 1997, I was 19 years old and spending the break working in the office of a church my mother had started attending.

My parents had just gone through a shocking divorce, and by shocking, let me just say that to this very day, almost 20 years after their divorce, I’ve never heard my parents argue. Ever. They woke us up one fine Saturday morning and told us they had gotten a divorce a few weeks earlier and my dad was moving out. There was no warning shot fired, no attempt at counseling or reconciliation, just that one sucker punch when we weren’t paying attention. A year later, I broke up with my boyfriend of four years and my heart was still tender from both events.

Before I headed back for the next semester, my older brother Matt and I decided to go to Texas for a motorcycle rally with a friend’s family.

motorbike ride
“Zeb wasn’t my type. My type was clean-cut, the kind who wore lots of Polo shirts and khaki pants, possibly played golf.”
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We borrowed a tent, loaded Matt’s car and joined a caravan of cars following the O’Bryant family to Texas. One of their sons, Zeb, was a year younger than me. Even if I was looking (which I wasn’t) I wouldn’t have looked at him twice.

Zeb wasn’t my type. My type was clean-cut, the kind who wore lots of Polo shirts and khaki pants, possibly played golf. Zeb rode a metallic blue 1976 Harley-Davidson everywhere he went, had a goatee that was a little longer than I thought sanitary and his naturally brown hair was bleached blonde and spiked in a manner not unlike Edward Cullen’s — or Edward Scissorhands’, for that matter.

Regardless, meeting Zeb began a weekend-long love affair with his vintage Harley-Davidson and winding back roads. Every time Zeb jumped on his bike, he’d give me a nod, I’d hop on and we’d take off. The rumble of the Harley and the twisting roads through the Hill Country almost hypnotized me. The wind blasted my face and ratted my hair as the sun warmed my jeans.

We were sitting in a church meeting when I had a crazy thought:

“My husband is here somewhere…” 

My eyes scanned the crowd and as they did, they fell on Zeb, who was sitting to my right, ripped jeans and motorcycle boots propped on the chair in front of him. Now I’m not saying I heard an audible voice, but something deep inside of me clearly shouted, “It’s him.” 

I knew from that moment on I would marry him. And it’s a damn good thing I was hearing voices that night – otherwise I would’ve totally missed it.

Robin-OBryant-and-her-husband-Zed

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Robin O’Bryant and her husband Zeb.

Zeb is my polar opposite. He’s an extrovert; I’m an introvert. He loves nature and the outdoors; I’ve wondered if I could get a PhD in iView. He’s calm, steady and always in a good mood. I’m creative, a roller-coaster of emotions and quite frankly – prone to hysterics.

But, Zeb isn’t my “best friend.”

Shoes
I want a best friend who will tell me I need one more pair of shoes…
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I want a best friend who will tell me I need one more pair of shoes and a man who will remind me to save for my retirement account. I want to call my best friend when I feel I’ve been wronged and hear her say, “What a b*tch! I can’t believe she said that to you!” I want to be married to a man who says, “Who gives a sh*t what she thinks?” And I want to get into bed at night with a man who ignites things in me no one else can.

I have never been so angry at my best friend that I fantasised about throwing a lamp or other miscellaneous piece of furniture at her head. I can’t say the same for ole Zeb. For example, one time our 3-year-old had walking pneumonia. Sadie was running a fever, listless and refused to drink anything. I tried all manner of juices, an assortment of sippy cups and silly straws all to no avail.

“Zeb, will you go to the store and get some ice blocks?” I asked.

“Do you really think she needs sugar when she’s this sick?”

“I think she needs any type of fluid she can get down because she’s going to get dehydrated. So yes, I think she needs Popsicles.” I replied.

“Give her some water,” Zeb advised.

“I HAVE.”

“Try some juice.”

“Really Zeb? I’ve tried everything. That’s why I need ice blocks.” I was starting to get pretty annoyed.

“I just don’t think she needs sugar.” He said, again.

“Noted. Now go to the store and get ice blocks. Please.” I said ‘please’ out loud but in my head I was screaming, “YOU S.O.B!”

He was as mad, but he went to the store – victory was mine! Sadie would be hydrated! All was well with the world… until he walked in the door carrying a box of 200 ice blocks that weren’t even frozen.

“Is this really happening?!” I yelled, “What the hell? Ice blocks, Zeb! Why is that so hard?”

“These ARE ice blocks!” He yelled back.

“No they aren’t! They’ll be ice blocks in 36-48 hours but they are most certainly NOT ice blocks right now!  Why didn’t you get frozen ones?”

He looked me straight in the eye and said, “I didn’t know you could buy them that way.”

“Are you sure that’s how you want to play this? Do you really want me to believe you’re that stupid?” I asked.

what is a shadow wedding 1
“He’s my partner, my equal and without a doubt, my better half.”
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I don’t know that I’ve ever been so completely filled with rage. Over freaking ice blocks.

But that’s the way it is with me and Zeb – we are passionate and stubborn. Sometimes I think I might see myself on an episode of “Dateline” Josh Mankiewicz strolling down our street as a camera pans wide and says,”In this small town, everything looked perfect for Zeb and Robin O’Bryant…until one day, in a fit of rage, Robin did the unthinkable…”

But then, in a split second, Zeb is there with eyes the exact same amber brown as sunshine filtered through a beer bottle. He  wraps his arms around me while I’m standing at the stove cooking dinner. He kisses my neck and his beard tickles my skin, “Sorry,” he whispers. And I melt.

Zeb isn’t my best friend. Depending on the movie I want to see, I’ll ditch him in a second for my girlfriends. But when things gets real, I don’t care if anyone is standing with me but him. He’s my partner, my equal and without a doubt, my better half. Zeb is the peanut butter to my jelly, the yin to my yang, the spiritual Xanax to my eight-ball of coke.

I have lots of friends, hell, I even have lots of best friends…but there is and will always be, only one Zeb. He’s my husband and that’s enough.

This was originally published on the Huffington Post and on Robin’s blog. It is republished with full permission.

You can follow Robin on Twitter here.

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