A short time ago when I was having trouble coming up with topics, a few of my blogger friends suggested I write a how we met story. Given that our 19th anniverary is only two short months away, this seemed the ideal time to reflect...
Chapter 1. In Which Wenderina Makes Her Life Plan
Growing up I assured my mother that I need not learn the domestic arts. Not because I was going to be a career woman, but because I was going to be a kept woman. Kept in the style to which I felt I always deserved. I was looking for a man of means.
Now I never felt deprived as a child...EVER. Despite my mother's apparent leftover guilty feelings that I might have, I truly did not envy my friends their piles of christmas presents and teenage cars. In fact, it never occurred to me to think about it. I did however, dream of a day when I would not have to clean or cook or do any chores.
Of course, I wanted to be an independent woman first and could almost see my first apartment where I would live gloriously alone and do what I wanted, when I wanted, with no one else to consider. Oh...and maybe I'd have a dog...or bring my dog from home...but no one else.
I figured I'd meet the man of my dreams at age 28 or 29. Date for a few years. Marry at 32 and then spend our time leisurely traveling the world one beach at a time.
Or so I thought.
Chapter 2. In Which the Artist Crashes into Wenderina's Life and Changes It All.
The laundry room was a battle ground. You had to claim your machine forcefully, watch your supplies at all times, and if you left your clothes in the washer or dyer 1 minute beyond their cycle, you could almost guarantee they would be unceremoniously emptied from their machine and dumped wherever it was most convenient. Being my mother's daughter, however, I was known to empty the dryer of the late laundry-doer and fold their clothes neatly ready for their owner to come and collect them with gratitude.
This is when the Artist swears he met me first. I, however, must have been blinded by the fumes of the 50 machines and the cheapest laundry detergents in America, to notice. It would be a year later, that I first noticed the tall blonde stranger with the horn-rimmed glasses and cute overbite who shared a suite of rooms with a friend.
Chapter 3. In Which We Discover A Shared Life Philosophy
We had just returned from winter break and one of the girls in our dorm had brought a very young stepsister to visit for the weekend. This child was a brat. Or at least seemed like a brat to me at the time. I spent much of that weekend proclaiming my desire to NEVER have a child of my own. In one of the group settings in which I made this statement, a new tall blonde stranger agreed wholeheartedly. I viewed this boy with interest.
I had limited success with boys in high school and now had been unfortunate enough to room with some of the hottest (and loosest) females in college who collected men by the boatload, but left little selection for me. I had fancied myself smitten a few times only to find the boys similarly smitten with my red-headed pixie of a roommate, the tall lanky blonde roommate, or the brunette darling of the party set roommate. Don't get me wrong - these were great girls (well maybe the red-head was a bit of a head case), but they were way out of my league and I could not compete.
I wondered, at the time, which of my dearest friends would soon be snagging this new guy in our circle.
Chapter 3. In Which Wenderina Begins to Hope, and Hopes are Dashed
In typical college fashion, the great social lubricant was applied that night. Yes...I speak of the holy grail of alcohol. Being short-funded and short-sighted, we took what we could get with our meager rations and that night's bar was filled with cherry kool-aid and seagram's gin. Wow. Let's just pause a moment and take in that choice.
We began one of our many drinking games, and took our under-age livers in hand and began yet another brain cell murdering night. I was eyeing the Artist most of the night but had not yet figured out what to do with my interest in him. After a few drinks, we were focusing all of our drinking game vengeance on one another. It was like a semi-grown up version of pulling pigtails and calling names.
After a few more drinks, my emotions took over and I found myself sobbing in the bathroom. No. Not over the Artist. Over my older sister's announcement of her unexpected pregnancy. When I got it together again and returned to the other room hoping the Artist was still interested, I found my best friend sitting in his lap whispering in his ear.
Gone were my hopes of capturing this funny, cute, ocean-eyed, interesting boy.
Chapter 4. In Which Wenderina Lives a Typical Jane Austin Adventure of Mistaken Identities and Intentions
Dejected, I retreated from the room, assured that once again I would be the cute and funny friend of the leading lady who gets the guy. But I need not have lost all hope as my best friend bounced (or stumbled) into my room and told me in a fit of gin-fueled giggles that in fact this boy was interested in me and she was just whispering information about me to him on my behalf.
Drunken Make-Out Session Pause......
Chapter 5. In Which A Brave Sober Man Returns to the Scene of the Crime
The next day, all cherry kool-aid and gin evaporating painfully from my body, I was stricken with shyness and huddled under a blanket in my room. But the Brave and Sober Artist returned to my room to say hello, to share in my hangover woes, and to see if sans alcohol, we were still attracted to one another.
And thus began our long and bumpy courtship.
So I met the man of my dreams in February of 1986, when I was barely 19. About 10 years too early for my life's plan. A few weeks later, after I had tried to dump him at least twice, he told me he loved me - and scared me to death - but he wouldn't back down and slowly I arrived at the same conclusion. And 2 years later, on Christmas Eve 1987, a beautiful diamond engagement ring appeared at the bottom of my Christmas stocking - and my wonderful, sweet, funny, talented, blue-eyed man asked me to marry him.
Crazy Boy. I spent the next many months trying to warn him away. Making sure he knew I was nuts, neurotic, moody, bitchy, strong-willed, spoiled, opinionated, and all those other desirable qualities. But no matter how I pushed, he stuck. I think sometimes I'm still surprised by that.
Many years later, Hubby gave me a card that I keep framed on my desk that says, "I wonder where the years have gone, but never how else I could have spent them."
I am not a religious woman, but every once in a while I find myself whispering the following prayer.
Thank God this man found me.
Thank God for cherry kool-aid and seagram's gin.
Thank God for best friends who whisper in the right man's ear for you.
Thank God he never listened to me when I tried to break up with him and return to my original plan.
Thank God for all the patience, love, humor, and spirit this man still brings to our life together every day.
End of the "How We Met" story.