x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Observing Life: a window into marriage

For one newlywed, the sacrifices of marriage are driven home during an aeroplane ride to Paris.

I am greeted with teasing shouts of "Bonjour!" everywhere I go these days because I just returned from an impromptu second honeymoon in Paris - a second honeymoon that occurred, incidentally, a mere 2.5 months after marriage rather than the more usual 25 years of wedlock. The plane trip (one of only three I have shared thus far with the man I have chosen to share my life with) provided an epiphany on my as-of-yet short marriage. As I settled into my prerequisite window seat and buckled the seat belt, it hit me: my husband will never get to occupy the window seat when he travels as my companion.

It is simply a sacrifice he has to accept as the husband of a girl who is adamant that the window seat is always hers; there is no room for negotiation on this account. At the airport check-in counter, it has become almost second nature for me to request a window seat as I hand over my passport and ticket. After years of gallivanting around the world in aeroplanes of various sizes, I have learnt the merits of being picky about my seat allocation.

The window seat means a constant head rest, a place to lean my tired self against and drift off into that torturous half-sleeping state that you can only ever experience on a night flight in economy class. A window seat is where you go to seek refuge from annoying fellow passengers who, should you happen to be seated in their way, will not hesitate to wake you from your fitful slumber to pass you on their way to the lavatories, which always happen to be occupied.

A window seat provides respite from the monotony of a long flight. There are views to gaze at while you daydream: night skies of glittering stars and flickering lights, seas of fluffy clouds that conjure images of swimming in marshmallows, fields of green or rolling hills of desert sand, or even advanced road infrastructure, depending on what part of the world you happen to be soaring over. And my poor husband, who, one can argue, has taken on far more than he signed up for when he decided to become my travelling companion through life, is forced to sacrifice the luxury of a window seat for the rest of his life.

You are told that marriage and relationships involve sacrifices at the hands of each spouse, but you are just never told how far those sacrifices extend.