I don't know how it is for Myka, but for me it's just that I don't really know what to share about our relationship. What's going on in our individual lives, maybe--"Oh, Martin's waiting for the loan for his surgery to come through. He's still teaching this year and is now the Creative Writing coordinator. Me, I'm still plodding along at old BWorld and entertaining thoughts of moving to a new neighborhood." But us together? What could they possibly want to know?
"Institusyon na kasi," Anne would say.
I could argue that a relationship doesn't reach institution status till it lasts maybe 50 years, not 15 months. But I guess she means that at this point, there seems to be no reason for me or Myka to pore over every little detail with the girlfriends to find out, "What does he mean? What's going on in his head? Where is this thing we have together going?"
The catch, of course, is that--again, I can't speak for Myka--I'm with a guy who says what he means, will clue me in on what's going on when I need to know, and who can assure me of at least the general direction in which TTWHT is going. I don't need to hash out my confusion with an external party; I just go right to the source. If I
didn't, then I'd probably be right in there with Gella and Aeli, taking a scalpel to what's happened so far.
"What's it like, being an institusyon?" Aeli asked.
"It's nice," was all I managed to say.
Well, it is. It's nice to be able to go to his house on the weekend in an old t-shirt and pair of shorts and do nothing but watch cooking shows and movies on TV. I like meeting up in MoA and making the rounds of all the bookstores before settling into a cafe for wifi and paperwork. I actually like listening now to his gripes about work and the politics going on at school. In short, I like the comfortable routines that we've taken on since the start of the year.
When you hear single people talk about the troubles of finding a good partner or speculate about whether some guy in the next department is making eyes with them, you feel kind of glad that this is not your problem. It's not to say that people in couples are superior, just that their problems are different.
What are the problems? Me, I worry a lot about another person. Every now and then, I feel a mild panic at the idea that I might not be as much a part of his life as I want to be. I feel helpless when he has a problem that I can't really do anything to fix. I wonder if it's safe or sane, to have so much of your own happiness depend on another person's. I have bouts of impatience; I want to know when all the waiting is through. Overall, there's this terrifying vulnerability that, at the same time, seems completely necessary for TTWHT to be so awesome.
I think my problem with being asked about being institutsyon is that I have no snappy way to adequately convey its awesome ordinaryness. It's one of those you-had-to-be-there kind of things.
"Uh. It's nice."
I guess that's really all I can say.