Liam smiled. The job offer was a good one. It included a signing bonus, above average salary and a benefit package that was more than
generous. Bridget would be pleased. Or would she? The kicker came in the job’s location. Chicago would seem to Bridget and her family like we
were moving to far away China.
Offers like this one did not come readily in my field. It was an opportunity for me to break into middle management. Bridget could find a
teaching position. And there were plenty of opportunities for an active social life in a big city like Chicago. The ordered plenty, of a suburb like Naperville, promised good schools for our family. It would have everything that Buffalo has, except for the network of family and friends
that Bridget's family had amassed over four generations. Her Family affairs were like ancient clan gatherings. Several generations met to bask
in the reassuring warmth of their own. Bridget was as much attached to these rituals as any of them.
Truth be told, I liked living here too. Buffalo Sabres Hockey and Buffalo Bills Football tickets were easy enough to get. The Philharmonic, Theater, Opera, and other cultural institutions, all provided a varied and interesting social life. Buffalo really has everything except jobs, I thought ruefully.Unless you could claw your way into the network of political dynasties, that provided for their own, there were few real work opportunities available for mid level professionals. It was a Hobson’s choice dilemma. A
warm and healthy Lifestyle, versus the lack of ability to sustain it. Well, better a choice than none, I reasoned. The local Taverns were filled with those who had no work or those who had work and hated it. I better ease this into the conversation tonight at dinner and see how it flies.
Bridget was in a pleasant mood. School had gone well for her that day. The small personal victories, won in classes daily, were often enough to sustain teachers through the many challenges they faced. Bridget talked animatedly about the school newspaper and other projects that she and
the kids were involved in. I made murmurring commments, and nodded in the right places. My mind was on other things. How could I ask her to
leave all of this? Is this fair to her? Yet, I knew we had a family yet to raise. Bridget would need extended leaves during our child rearing years. We would need the added income to make sure the right schools and opportunities were within our reach. It was a poser.
Bridget knows me well. She stopped, in the middle of stirring the sauce, and turned her laser eyes upon me. “OKay, what gives?” she said cheerfully. “Did you smash up the car or just murder someone?” Her tone made me smile. How I had managed to make this bright and loving woman
my wife ? It was always a constant wonder to me.
Briefly, I outlined the job offer and its possibilities. She nodded thoughtfully, digesting the import of the offer and its personal ramifications. She cogitated but for a moment, her sparkling eyes distant with thought. Then, she looked directly into my eyes and said. “Of course you will take the job.And whither thou goest, go I.” I hugged her tightly, glad for the hundredth time that I had married her. “Maybe some day we can move back here” I said hopefully. She smiled at me and said “yes, maybe. Our hearts will always be here in Buffalo. Maybe someday we will be able to come back to Buffalo. But, wherever we are together will always be home for us.”
I smiled warmly at this wonderfully charming and enigmatic woman who had married me. Some of us are just plain lucky in whom we marry, I thought. I didn't need to hit any lotteries.I had already won the most important one of my life.
Joseph Xavier Martin