I met my wife on this day in 2006.
I wasn’t, at the time, looking for a wife. I was doing some lazy womanizing with people I didn’t really have much interest in, floating from here to there while engaging in the deep hedonism of fifteen-hour stretches of sleep, fifteen-hour stretches of video games and a relentless number of late nights out in bars, singing and carousing with my friends. Probably still reeling from the wreckage of a failed marriage that haunted me even then. I wasn’t looking for anything, just taking what I found.
Apropos of nothing, a young woman caught my eye on the MySpace profile of a promoter I was working with, and her profile was filled with things that made me smile and laugh — her greatest fear and greatest disappointment, for example, listed as “the US government.” Seven years my junior and more beautiful than anyone had a right to be, I thought, “if she’s not a nutjob, she’ll probably make some young brother very happy one day.” I sent her a message noting that I had no intentions towards her and that I wanted to encourage her to keep on with such ideas and such spirit. Given the ladies of ill repute with which I trafficked at the time, I couldn’t see my darkness clouding her brilliance.
When she responded back with flirtation, I was shocked. Movie star good looks taking an interest in me? I’d always considered myself a solid second option, the Scottie Pippen of dating (not with the head ridges or camel face, though) — damned good but not the superstar that got everybody’s attention. She was everything that I’d never been able to reach before, so I shrugged in the leather couch dimness of my Jungles apartment and wrote back, opening myself up to possibility.
Our first date was supposed to happen on a Friday night, but a freak bathroom fire at the bar where I hosted karaoke changed my plans. I was sitting at my aunt’s house, lazily flipping through Black Friday sales circulars and ignoring whatever game was on the TV when her text messages came through like a ray of light. Accepting her invitation, I skipped a long line at Best Buy and turned down another invitation to see what dreams might come.
The night was nothing I expected. Often great looking online photos are an indication of a past state, but she was as striking as the digital representations had suggested — lean framed, expressive eyes, waterfall crown of reddish dreadlocks and a smile that could illuminate galaxies. She beat me relentlessly at a game called Pente, then mixed her crass nature (which I later learned) with an up-front shyness as she put down romantic themed words on a Scrabble board. She wanted to put down an abbreviation, “lube,” which I offered to allow for the cost of a kiss. I thought that was too forward when she recoiled, until she softly asked, six turns later, “is that offer still on the table?”
The kiss led to holding while we traded crazed queries — I asked her thoughts on stem cell research, she insisted that the Smurfs were analogues of the Ku Klux Klan — and she didn’t want me to leave. I was intent on not besmirching this star with my really forward advances, but eventually agreed to stay, sleeping clothed by her side.
When a bundle of cheeks and whimsy toddled in between us the next morning, describing an imaginary backpack and showing no trepidation at the weird guy in mommy’s bed, I had to smile. It felt normal. It felt good.
Three years later it still does. She’s managed — if you let my friends tell it, laughing at the car seat in my sedan — to brighten my blackest fires. I fear, however, that darkness within me may have shadowed her sunshine somewhat, but we’re walking through this life together and the story’s nowhere near it’s end. In just a few weeks, she’s going to give me the finest gift of all — a new baby daughter to go with the promise of forever we shared in March.
I’ve told this story before — I meant to grab the copy off of our wedding website before it fell victim to time — and I tell it again, with great joy. It’s been a hell of a ride so far, and I can’t wait for the next twist and turn, holding her close by my side.
Playing (Music): “Defying Gravity” by the cast of Glee
… or you could read her take on things …