Do you remember how you met the love of your life?
Of course you do. Silly question. Every person can recall where they were, when they were, and possibly even what they were wearing when they first encountered that person who would make them feel twitterpated for the last time in their life.
By the way, “twitterpated” is a word that does not get nearly enough play anymore, but I digress.
Here’s another question for you. Do you still have some remembrance or souvenir or artifact from that first encounter?
I am not speaking of a picture here. I am talking about some tangible object that takes the two of you back to that moment in time and place when everything changed and nothing was the same.
For some of you it may be a saved movie ticket from a blind date, a stuffed animal from a carnival midway, or a mounted elk head from your first hunt.
As for me, today marks the twenty-fourth anniversary that I met the woman who would become my lovely wife. I can recall when it was, where it was, but not what I wore (two out of three ain’t too bad).
As for my artifact, here is that story.
It is February of 1993 and to recap where I am at this moment, I am living in an apartment in San Diego. For those of you who have been following these stories in a linear fashion, you will recall that this was the time that I had sworn off dating, relationships, and women (and that story can be found here in a previous post).
So, it is with some surprise that I decide to answer an advertisement. Taped up to the mailboxes in my apartment’s lobby is a piece of paper looking for volunteers to help two post-graduate students with their psychology class. In return for a pair of movie tickets, the volunteer would take an IQ test. I had nothing else to do for the rest of the day, week, month, or year, so I wrote down the phone number and decided to help out some struggling students.
I will also freely admit that I copied down the number because the names of the students were both obviously female. If it was “Fred” and “Barney” looking for assistance, I would have walked on by.
I called the number and J, one of the two names on the advert, answered. We set up a time for 6:00pm on Sunday, February 21.
That Sunday, two dozen years ago, was a slow day. A friend of mine from high school was visiting and we had lunch at a bagel place. After I dropped her off at the train station so she could make her way back up to Orange County, I busied myself with grocery shopping for the week and laundry until the clock struck six.
I walked down the two flights of stairs in our apartment building until I was in front of Door #7. I rang the bell and the woman who answered the door was not J, but her roommate. Turns out J had a scheduling conflict, so the other name on the advert by the mailboxes, would be handling my test.
My substitute graduate student was slightly shorter than myself, had sheaves of reddish-auburn hair, and deep brown eyes. She invited me in, sat me down at her kitchen table, offered me some water, and explained the test I would be taking.
The test itself took about two hours and while I think I did okay, I did not care. This woman in front of me was intriguing, engaging, lively, and had a killer smile. We spent the next two hours after the test chatting and I spent some of that time hoping I was not overstaying my welcome, but the story of her life was fascinating. As if you could not tell based on the theme of this blog, I love stories – both telling them and hearing them. To have her share her tale with me – and to hear her rich voice – was just enough to make me rethink my Valentine’s Day about swearing off women.
I am not going to go on record to say that Cupid’s arrow had found its target in me after only one meeting, but even after one four-hour session with this red-headed intellect and beauty, I was ready to place the bullseye over my heart to give the little armed cherub a better shot.
I do recall, upon leaving, that I should have asked her out to the movies because I had a pair of free passes (courtesy of helping her out)
Let me fast forward the tape and let you know that we started seeing each other nearly every day (because we lived in the same apartment complex), began dating soon after (and I did take her out to see Point Of No Return with my free movie tickets), moved in together six months later, I would propose to her in October of 1994, and she would officially become my lovely wife in August of 1995.
So what is my artifact from that fateful day back in ’93?
I still have the results from that IQ test that she gave me when we first met.
Depending on which number you want to look at, I either have an IQ of 134 or 128. Either way, she was meeting one smart cookie.
That’s my story.
P.S. If you want to know how I proposed…well, that’s a story for another day.