Before K-Hubs, I had never heard of a golden birthday or a golden anniversary (unless someone was talking about being married for 50 years). But apparently celebrating 15 years of something on the fifteenth of that month is kind of a big deal. In honor of this golden business, it was 15 years ago today that K-Hubs and I met.
I have a little theory about the whole deal. When Mom went to hang with God, she said to Him, “I had a lot of work I still wanted to do down there.” And God said, “I know. But you’re needed up here.” And Mom said, “I’ll trust your plan. But, um, could we send someone to Morgan? A friend? Someone she can partner with? I sort of overshot my mark when I raised her to be independent.” God said, “I know. And, yes, I have someone in mind.” And then Mom said, “Oh, good. I’m relieved. And by the way, can you make him a little older?”
Fast forward four months to a party, hosted by my older cousin and his wife, consisting of college buddies from marching band, their spouses, and their children. There were so many people, I couldn’t keep names straight.
We started at a park shelter and then moved the shindig back to my cousin’s house. Cars were packed with kids and food. This guy from the party offered to give me a ride.
GUY: Do you know how to get back to your cousin’s house from here?
ME: No. [Mental head slap. Unh, he clearly thinks I’m an idiot.]
GUY: Great. Well, let’s follow one of the others and hope we don’t get lost.
ME: Nice car you have. It looks new.
GUY: I never buy a new car. Depreciation. It’s ridiculous.
ME: Oh, sure. Right. Depreciation. Um, well, you keep a very nice car.
GUY: Take care of the car, it’ll take care of you.
ME: Yes, that’s, um, that’s true.
GUY: We made it. Didn’t get lost.
ME: Phew, right? Well, thanks for the ride. I’ll just, um, go find my cousin, let him know I’m here.
Later, I’m talking with my cousin’s college buddies, the few I knew, and Guy joins us. Did he even talk? I don’t remember. But, surely I was talking. And then I stopped talking long enough to notice he was STARING AT ME, amused. I figured it was because he still thought I was a directionally-challenged passenger who didn’t fully respect depreciation until I noticed that nope, no person had EVER looked at me that way. And plenty of people have known over the years that I am directionally challenged. A friend recently suggested I join the 21st century and purchase a smartphone just to have Internet access while getting from point A to point B. It’s that bad.
So while he was staring at me, I was entranced and then forgot what I was talking about. But, as parties go, we got separated by other conversations, and I didn’t see him for the rest of the evening.
Poor God. He was like, “For the love of Me, you two, I’ve got other things to do. How dense can you be?”
So, the party went overnight, and because families were in from out of town, no one left. Couches were dripping in children who overran all the comfortable spots to sleep, as kids are wont to do. Tents were popped in the backyard for brave souls who suffered through an unseasonably chilly July night. Lay-Z-Boys were reclined. Blow-up mattresses were in place.
No one slept with the people they came with.
ME [to Cousin]: I didn’t know they were married.
COUSIN: They aren’t. They just fell asleep like that.
ME: Where are their spouses?
COUSIN: Over there. And there. And there.
ME: Oh, sure. Right.
COUSIN: We all traveled across the country together on dingy, crowded, stuffy buses. 10 years later, we’re all still good friends and conditioned to sleep anywhere.
Bless my naive little heart.
Aside from couches, tents, and mattresses, there was one lone futon.
And what are the last two singles who are still awake on Earth supposed to do with said futon? Split it. Yep, Guy and I shared the remaining place to sleep.
Be cool, I told myself. Wow, he’s really good looking. Was he that good looking on the way back from the shelter? Already I don’t remember. Probably he just holds everyone in a trance with that gaze.
ME: If we’re going to split a futon, probably I should know your name.
GUY: I’m K-Guy. Nice to meet you. Again. So, what brings you to this party?
In one of my more brilliant moments, I had, what is it called? Diarrhea of the mouth? Yeah, I had that. Because cool.
ME: Well, my mom passed away four months ago and my cousin and his wife thought I’d enjoy hanging out here. Live life NOT under a microscope. It has been very stressful and overwhelming and Cousin thought I should get away and then he suggested this party and then, well, here I am.
FOR THE LOVE, that is not what he’s asking, I said to myself, as the words continued to flow. Just say, ‘My cousin, your friend, invited me here.’ That’s all that’s needed in this situation. Geez.
I may or may not have been going through a phase at the time where I told EVERYONE who came into contact with me what had happened to Mom. Grief, denial, and disbelief are powerful tools, and they engulfed me. I’m pretty sure I told every stranger my story because I couldn’t believe it myself. It was a great conversation ender under almost all circumstances. But I was slow to let it go.
Expecting this to be another ended conversation, with awkward silences and uncomfortable humans, I tried to reel the words back into my mouth, mentally head-slapping myself and wondering why I was even speaking in the first place. Because I should never speak. Ever. And then K-Guy does this one.
K-GUY: Omigod, your mom just died?
ME [still trying to recover from that bout of verbal overload]: Uh, yeah.
K-GUY: I had no idea. Wow. How cool of you to come to this party. That was cool of your cousin to think of this. Omigod, wait. Your mom must have been very young. Because, well, you’re not exactly old.
ME: She was young. Two days after her 49th birthday.
K-HUBS: That. Is. So. Sad. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I’m pretty sure I’m older than you, and my parents are still living, and I don’t know what I’d do if I lost them.
So, there we were on the futon, staring silently at the ceiling while HE PONDERED WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO LOSE HIS PARENTS. Seriously. Could this guy have had any more empathy for a stranger?
Okay, fine. I’ll give him that. A caring personality AND good looks. Fine. He can have those. But that’s it. He’s just another person on this earth. No big deal.
K-GUY: I’m glad you’re here, and I hope you’ve managed to have a good time, in spite of, well, you know.
I suppose if you’re going to put it that way and be wonderful, then I guess you get to be special. Or something.
So what happened next? We talked. All night. “Really?” you ask. “That can’t possibly be.”
Well, okay, you caught me.
WE didn’t talk all night.
Love at first sight? That’s not what we call it. More like, click at third sight.