A Love Letter for Greenie – Do You Remember?

Dearest Greenie.

Do you Remember?

Today I was reflecting on our friendship in this divine relationship called marriage.

I was considering our special moments and memories which have all contributed to making such a deep friendship.

Do you remember

Our first date? I was freshly 20 and had just finished my first degree in nursing. You were on the end of a plumbing apprenticeship which was currently on hold as you had lost your license to drink driving. So instead, you were working at the shipping container yard with all the local criminals. The night before we had our date, you went out and got drunk and started a fight which earned you a split lip. SO romantic. Then I picked you up in my Toyota Seca and we went up the Coast where you taught me how to sneak into hotel pools and use their facilities. You asked me if I would mind if you smoked in my car. I remember nodding in shock, “He smokes?”

I was so innocent that I was wearing Playboy togs that I didn’t even know were Playboy. I thought they were stylish black bikinis with cute silver bunnies. It’s strange that despite the blaring red lights in our relationship, there was something in you which I saw from the beginning. You were gentle. And you were kind. I pretend I don’t believe in love at first sight but I knew I loved you from the beginning.

Do you remember

Prior to getting married the day we spent at Tangalooma? We ferried over in the morning to Moreton Island. This is such a special place for me. We used to go there annually for our Pereira Summer family holiday. Taking you there showed you such a big part of my upbringing.

We sat on the top deck of the ferry on the way over and walked off after the two hour barge ride into the white sand with the expansive blue ocean before us. I will never forget that day. The sun burned hot and you asked me to put sunscreen on you. Not used to such requests as my family are brown and didn’t wear sunscreen, I slapped it on you half-heartedly. This resulted in you getting close to third degree burns in a creative pattern across your back, neck and shoulders.

We swam in the blue water and ate at the all you can eat Tangalooma Resort restaurant. Back then you didn’t seem to love food as much as you do now. Perhaps because you were a smoker or we were so in love you were nervous to eat. But I remember you practicing great restraint and thinking you were very different to my food devouring family. We were that brown family at the all you can eat restaurant determined to get their money’s worth. I remember my Aunt stuffing bread rolls in her bag and treats wrapped in napkins for later and my little brother who would have inhaled the two plates you ate in 10 seconds flat.

I remember the hours flying by in bliss as we swam, sun baked, ate and marvelled at the ease of our connection and the joy of being together.

Do you remember

The night you were born again about six months into our relationship? We were at Metro Church, Kelvin Grove. The altar call was given and you put up your hand. I walked you down and you prayed the prayer. Then afterwards we went out to celebrate with your brother Joe and his wife Katie. I remember you got the cheese platter and I got the huge ice-cream sundae at the Emporium in Brisbane. At the time it seemed surreal. I can see how deeply impacting that night was. It wasn’t long after that we went on our first mission trip to Vanuatu. Not that one could call giving out Christmas presents for Samaritan’s Purse in the glorious beaches and rolling hills of Vanuatu a mission trip. More like a luxurious holiday. But it marked the start of a pursuit of a different life for both of us. Remember we came home and you went to Bible College?

Do you remember

When my family moved into units after selling our house for tax purposes? For whatever reason, we were in two units side by side, with my mum and dad living in one and my siblings and I residing next door. You and I decided that as we had been together a year we were ready to get married. You were a new Christian. I was a graduate nurse. And we were mature! You toddled off to ask my Dad. He looked at you and said, “No I don’t think so. It is too soon.” You toddled back and told me what he said. And we were like, “Oh well…” So easily convinced. Talk about lack of conviction. How young were we. Imagine if he had said, “Yes.” We were such babies.

Do you remember

Being newly married and living off your meagre wage as a plumber while I studied full time? We lived on frozen vegies and tinned tuna (the Woolworths brand). Our treat was seafood highlighter which we would eat with tomato sauce. Every day I would pack your lunch which was always the same; two wraps or sandwiches, a homemade treat and some fruit. Even when your friends would go out you would bring and eat your packed lunch. Remember that time when we ran out of money to buy toothpaste? We brushed our teeth with salt instead (a trick I learned from my father who grew up in actual poverty) and marvelled at how clean they felt!

We were so poor that the little things brought us so much joy. Sushi Train after pay day was like eating at the finest hotel. Long walks and ice cream by the beach was like going to Paris. And occasionally your parents would give us a Coles Myer gift card with $100.00 for groceries! We would buy Milo and meat and think we had actually won Lotto. Gosh those times were so good for us.

Do you remember

Within a month of marriage we lived in the “Bronx” in Nerang next door to a drug dealer in what was mostly a housing commission estate? I was studying upstairs and you were downstairs watching TV a bit too loud for my liking. I came down stairs in a flurry of irrational rage and started balling yelling simultaneously that I ‘could not’ study with you in the same house. You calmed me down and within an hour we were eating lollies and laughing.

Do you remember

The walks we did on the secluded Groote Eslante? Gosh those daily walks were our saving grace weren’t they? You spent nine hours a day in that sinking couch writing your first book, Awake to Righteousness. I went to work and got bullied every, single day. Then I’d come home and cry. I would tell you about my day as we walked together along some of the most stunning natural beauty we’ve ever seen. We only had each other. The isolation was a deeply special time in our lives. I remember feeling so close that we would follow each other around the house. Gosh that season was so special. And in that time you managed to publish your book as well. So flaming proud of you. And now. Your book is literally changing lives every single day.

Do you remember

When we went on our first holiday overseas together to Bali? It was in our eighth year of marriage, right in the middle of our time on Groote Eslante where we had to escape before we lost our minds. We hired a motorcycle and went all through the countryside and along the coastline. I remember after two days feelings anxious that it was going too quickly and begging you to extend the trip. We filled our days with coffee, massages, swims, drinks by the ocean and long motorcycle rides to various destinations. We talked about our dreams for the next few years and watched movies and prayed. That was hands down the best time of my life. Me and my bestie in a sea of brown people. Does life get any better?

Do you remember

Your 30th Birthday? We were in Cairns at the time and I surprised you by taking you out for dinner. I found that Balinese restaurant that served a special duck meal that you had to order 48 hours in advance so they could marinate it for 24 hours and then slow cook it. They proudly brought out the duck all stunningly cut up and presented beautifully. Remember the couple next to us, “Oohing” and “Ahhing” after it? I remember their deep astonishment and my own as you proceeded to eat the entire thing. That was such a beautiful night of reminiscing and feasting. I even ate some duck. Remember sneaking off to pay for the couple next to us and then running to the car so it wouldn’t be awkward? That was the best part of the night. That and watching you eat an entire duck.

Beloved Mark, these are but a fraction of the endless memories we have that make our marriage so deep and our friendship so special. You are my bestie and I would pick you all over again every single time.


Your wife

Wink: Please ensure the house is clean before I get home including emptying the dishwasher and the bin. Kiss kiss.

6 thoughts on “A Love Letter for Greenie – Do You Remember?

  1. Sharon says:

    Wow! Just Wow Christine! Thank you so much for being so transparent and allowing us to know you deeply xx
    Love Sharon

    1. Christine says:

      You so welcome Sharon x

  2. Evangeline Pereira says:

    I remember some of those days Christine and remembering strangely made me cry. Such beautiful and tender reminiscing. Love you both dearly.

    1. Christine says:

      Thank you sweet mum xx

  3. Wendy says:

    Beautifully written and so sweet!

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