When I met my husband on our blind date just over 20 years ago, I'm not sure if there was ever a date I wanted to go on less than that one. I had just come out of a 2-year relationship that ended in lie after lie being revealed, and lots of ugliness. As I mentioned in my post about my in-laws, I only agreed to meet Todd to be a sport and to get out of town for a couple of days. Besides, he was leaving the next week to move to California. I'd never see him again, so what did I have to lose?
I was living in D.C. at the time, and we met in the Virginia Beach area in late July. The weather was typical - hot and humid; emphasis on HOT. And HUMID. When he picked me up at the hotel where I was staying with my parents, he was early and I wasn't finished drying my hair. I asked him in to sit in the hotel room to wait, and the room was a mess. It was clear that he was unimpressed, but I was also unimpressed with his stoic face and lack of a smile. Our plan was to drive a half hour or so to a nearby town to see some kind of wild animal park, and then go to Historic Williamsburg. All I could think of when I first met him was, Geez, it's going to be a long day.
Yet, he WAS cute. In a non-smiling sort of way.
We got into his truck and the A/C wasn't working very well. Soon I was dying in a pool of sweat, while we tried to make small talk. Knowing now how much we both HATE small talk, I have to laugh at our efforts back then. One of the first things he told me was that in college, he had majored in history, to which I responded, "Deliberately?" Yeah, I couldn't shake being a smart ass, especially since I wasn't going to see this guy again anyway. Knowing now how seriously he takes history, and his background in it, it's a wonder he didn't throw me out of the truck. And I would have thanked him, as it had to be cooler OUTSIDE the truck, on the side of the highway.
We walked around the wild animal park, still sweating and still making small talk, but at one point, he sort of smiled. And then he made a joke. It was a goofy joke, but there it was. Wow - Grumpy has a sense of humor! Maybe this day wouldn't turn out to be as torturous as I originally feared.
Afterward, as we were driving to Williamsburg (which, I might add, I had visited before, and had no desire to visit again) it began to rain. It rained HARD. We found a parking space in the packed lot near a restaurant in the historic part of town where we'd planned to have lunch, but the rain was coming down in sheets so we just sat in the truck talking and waiting for it to subside a bit.
If nothing else, the rain came down harder. After about 15 minutes, we decided to make a run for it. It was about a 100 yard run through the parking lot and down a sidewalk to the front of the restaurant. By the time we got there, we were completely drenched. My cute little 80s poofy hairstyle I'd fixed while he waited in the messy hotel room was now a thing of the past. Our clothes were also soaked through. But hey, at least now we were no longer hot and sweaty.
The restaurant had a long wait, so we stood in the lobby with about a million other drenched tourists, but now we were laughing. Yes - he not only smiled, HE LAUGHED.
After lunch, the rain had subsided and cooled things off. We walked around historic Williamsburg and he pointed out all the historical sites. I pretended I was impressed, but I enjoyed his handsome face and elusive smile much more than the sites. We passed by several shops. When we got to the Laura Ashley shop, he paused and asked if I wanted to go in. I said, "No way," probably a bit too abruptly. He didn't know it then, but I'm a blue jeans girl (I was actually wearing cut offs, so it might have clued him in) and I told him Laura Ashley was just not me. He smiled again and looked relieved. Apparently his mother had told him I'd probably like that shop. Ha. She knows better now. :)
By this time, the jokes were coming more and more often, and were more and more silly. But I was beginning to be smitten, so I thought they were hilarious. And then... we went into a book store.
Understand that I am not much of a shopper. A trip to the mall is not my idea of a good time. I go because I have to - not because I want to. In fact, the only thing I like about the mall is the food court, and the book store, if there is one. That said, book stores are one of my favorite places in the world. Turns out my blind date felt the same way. Suddenly, we'd found our common interest - we started walking up and down the aisles, talking about books, comparing books we'd read, sharing books we hadn't. And this was the clincher - he was the first guy I'd ever gone out with who had read more books than I had. My heart fluttered.
When we got back to the hotel later that day, he asked me out to dinner that evening. We spent the whole next day together, going to the beach with my then 4-year-old son, and then out to dinner again that evening. After dinner, we walked to his truck in the parking garage, where we talked for another few hours.
The next day, I left to go back home to D.C. and he left to move to California. But when I left again a few days later for a vacation in Colorado, he re-routed his coast-to-coast drive so he could come spend a few days with me. It was then that I knew.
A couple of visits, many long phone calls, and five months later, we were married. Twenty years later, the only thing I'd change is that we'd have gotten married sooner. When you know, you know.
The years haven't always been easy. Many times they were downright awful, and there were times I honestly didn't think we'd make it to ten years, let alone twenty. But here we are. I'm thankful we stuck it out during the bad times. I'm thankful we made the best of the good times. I'm thankful his mom had the idea that we ought to meet in the first place. I'm thankful for our children and the joy we've found in raising them. I'm also thankful that he is my best friend and that we are still enjoying each other now that the children are growing up and leaving.
Getting married is easy. Staying married is hard. But I highly recommend it. It's so worth it. Take it from one who knows first hand. :)
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