22 Years with the Woman of my Dreams
My wife and I celebrate two anniversaries. Our wedding date on November 17th, and the day we met, March 18th, 1988
I was a bit more than two months into my breakup with my ex-wife and was working for a temp agency in Milwaukee. I was waiting for my bus when it started to rain — a cold rain like the kind you get in March in Wisconsin. I noticed I was standing in front of a book store and decided I could wait inside where it was warm and check out some of the magazines.
I saw one that caught my attention — “Single Life.” Hell, I was “single” now. And I was certainly “alive.” And, dammit, I was ready to put myself back out there on the dating scene. So I bought a copy and answered a few of the ads.
That next weekend my twin brother Bob and I were having a couple brews at a place called “The Country Castle,” when I saw a lovely blonde chick sitting with a nearly-as-attractive brunette. But there was one guy sitting between them and I watched for awhile to see if I could figure out if the blonde and the guy were hooked up or not. But there was no sign, so I just shrugged my shoulders and asked someone else to dance. The girl I danced with seemed nice at first, in kind of a hard-bitten, edgy way. And we made plans to meet at another club a few nights later.
That date? A disaster. She spent the whole evening laying out ground rules of what our relationship would be like — how I could address her children, what nights I should make myself available for dates, what kind of places she expected me to take her to. I was done with it by 8pm.
Some days later, I got a phone call at work from a lady whose ad I had answered. It turned out, SHE was the cute blonde I saw at the Country Castle previously. She had been giving ME the eye as well, but by then I was dancing with the psycho. We made a date for the next Friday. But this time I was gonna be prepared.
I planned this all out with my twin brother. I would plant him at the Country Castle. I would meet this person at a George Webb’s near her home at 8 p.m. If things proceeded from there, we would go to the Country Castle and would “run in to” Bob while there. If this date turned out to be another nutjob, I would ask Bob about his wife, Lori, and whether or not her “flu” was any better. Bob would absent himself, pretend to call home, then come back and tell me she was running a temperature of 102 and would I give him a ride to a drug store for some tylenol and to take him home. I would apologize to the date for making it such a short evening, we would take her home first, then Bob and I would go out and drink some more.
I was at the George Webb at 8pm. Gail came in, wearing a lovely blue sweater and blue jeans looking as pretty of a girl as I’ve ever seen. We had coffee, had a little “get to know you” chat, and she accepted my invite to the Country Castle. On the way to the car, we held hands.
We got there and, as planned, ran into Bob. Gail and I danced a couple times and I made it clear that his services would not be required that evening. Around closing time, we drove Bob home. Then we went back to Gail’s place.
And only a cad would reveal what happened next.
Gail was certain she’d never hear from me again. I waited until noon on Saturday (in case she was a late sleeper) and called her. She seemed genuinely surprised to hear from me again. We went to a movie, “Good Morning Vietnam“, and then back to her place.
Two weeks later, we were living together.
19 months later, we were married.
22 years later, she is my partner, my best friend, my comforter, my companion, my caregiver, my chastiser-in-chief and I love her with all my heart.