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Of course we met cute!

November 13, 2012
Logo by Christine Hepner

How did we meet, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you, but for those of you who have heard this story 10,000 times, you are excused.

It was 2004, I was 44 years old and sharing a tiny little apartment with one of my best friends forever, Sandra. It was an unusual arrangement and one that most people outside Manhattan (and some inside) wouldn’t understand. Sandra had a rent-controlled studio at 30th and Lex, a bargain that was just too good not to pass on to a friend. She was getting ready to move back to Savannah and I was living in the far reaches of Brooklyn and hating the commute. Since she worked nights (as a cocktail waitress at the world famous Rodeo Bar), and I worked a regular 9-to-5 job at some company no one has ever heard of, it seemed like sharing this tiny space would work in the very short term. I traveled to NE Pennsylvania every weekend, so I would only need a place to sleep Monday through Thursday nights for a few months. Sandra started dating a guy at work, so she spent a lot of nights at his place. When she moved, I would have the adorable and cheap apartment forever if I wanted it. Perfect plan, right?

So I moved in in the summer of 2001, and then Sandra fell injuring her shoulder and had to have two different surgeries. She obviously couldn’t cocktail waitress with her arm in an enormous cast, and no work, no income. That set her moving plans way back. Then I lost my crappy job, so I couldn’t afford to find my own place. I also didn’t want to sign a lease that I might have to break. I thought I might have to move to PA for a while to help out. Again, no work, no money, and I didn’t want to be on the hook for more than 2,000 a month in rent.

So instead of sleeping on Sandra’s couch for a couple months until she moved, I found myself 3 full years later, still on the couch, living in this tiny apartment with Sandra, my cat, and Sandra’s pet rabbit who, because he was a male rabbit, took every chance he could get to hop on me in my sleep and pee on me. Yep, you read that right. Sandra would come home from work at 2 or 3 am and let the bunny out of his cage to hop around free-range. She slept on the other side of the studio in a twin bed and usually the bunny would find his way over to her and sleep on her pillow. But every once in a while, because I was the owner of a male cat, the bunny would decide to mark me as his bitch just to show my cat who was the alpha male. Yuck!

Glamourous life, huh?

But it was my life, and it was good. I have some of the greatest friends on Earth and we do know how to have fun. I met my friend Lisa at work at a dot-com. We were among a tiny pool of oldsters hired to be the adult supervision for the 19-year-old Internet millionaires working there, well, paper millionaires for a while, but pre-Internet-bubble millionaires none the less. I wasn’t even 40 yet, and I was the 5th oldest person ever hired by this company. Lisa and I became really great friends fast. She asked me if I wanted to go to the U.S. Open one Sunday afternoon in 2004 to meet up with her college roommie Angela and her husband. Sounded like fun to me.

We went to the open on a Sunday, which meant I had my NY Times crossword puzzle with me. In my pre-motherhood days, I never missed a NY Times crossword puzzle. I couldn’t wait for Saturday night for the early delivery of the Sunday NY Times to get at the puzzle. I’m a bit obsessive about it, really, or I was.

That day was one of those gorgeous, perfect moments in my life. I was with friends on a beautiful day watching tennis in my amazing city doing my crossword puzzle and having an afternoon cocktail or two. Perfect.

Then Angela said, “Oh look, there’s my pal from work.” She waved and over walked this really cute man. He sat down next to Angela and she introduced him to Lisa and me. I took one more look and thought, “Yep, I’m going to marry him.”

I know that sounds preposterous, but it’s absolutely true. And, no, he didn’t have the same reaction towards me. I have never had that reaction to anyone in my life and I wouldn’t say that I believe in love at first sight, but it happened to me at that moment. And further, I also knew that I didn’t have to do a single thing to make it happen. I didn’t have to work on getting a date or ask Angela to set us up or anything. I just knew that it was going to happen and that there was nothing that was going to stop it from happening.

The gang went to get more cocktails, and I was alone with him for a few minutes. He looked over and saw my crossword puzzle and asked if he could take a look at it. Turns out he loves the NY Times crossword puzzle too. I of course said no. I told you, I’m obsessive about my puzzle. And that was it. He got up and said, “Well, nice to meet you tell Ange I’ll see her at work,” and he was gone. Maybe I should have let him look at the puzzle? And yet, I still knew that I was going to meet him again and that we were going to get married.

Flash forward one whole year. Lisa moved to Portland; Sandra hadn’t moved to Savannah yet; I thought about D from time to time during that year, but I had never told Lisa how I felt or asked Angela about him. September came around and it was time for the U.S. Open again. Lisa wasn’t going to fly back east to attend, but Angela asked if I wanted to go for the Sunday session again with her and her husband, and I said yes.

We got to Flushing at 11 am and still no mention of whether D was going to be there. I couldn’t bring myself to ask Angela directly so I just hoped that he was going to be there. We walked to the entrance, and then suddenly Angela said, “Oh wait, I told D we’d meet him in front.” I turned around, and there he was, walking down the boardwalk from the subway to the entrance. He was wearing a white oxford shirt, khaki shorts and sunglasses. He had no idea, but his fate was sealed. We watched tennis that day for more than 12 hours. We drank margaritas and I even shared the crossword puzzle with him, a real step for me. At the end of the evening, he asked me if I wanted to play tennis sometime and I gave him my number. I still have the first voice mail he ever left me. It’s on youtube now so it will live forever.

On our third date, D told me how his parents met. His mother was on a ship bound for Europe for a grand tour she had worked and saved for for years. His father was on his way to England for a teaching job at a university. His father saw her sitting on deck and wanted to talk to her, so he approached her and asked her if he could help her do the crossword puzzle she was working on. She, being much smarter than her future daughter-in-law, said yes. And so it began!

Next time: Meet Katie, my new guest blogger!

copyright 2012

From → The Back Story

  1. Nadine permalink

    I love this story. Miss you guys.


    • grayhairedmom permalink

      Me too! How’s it going out there? Coming east for the holidays at all?


  2. Colleen permalink

    LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  3. Margaret permalink

    I love, love, love this story! True Love conquers again! When I first set eyes on my husband, I was 12 years old & when I saw him for the first time in my mind I said,,,”oh, he’s for me!” We didn’t marry for another 17 years….but I always knew…just needed him to catch up! I dated lots of other guys but in my minds eye…my future was us together. I have always had this picture of us growing old together., and now old is upon us and here we are! So when they say you know…its true…you just know! So, so happy for you (and D)!


  4. Suzanne Cone permalink

    I Love it and you guys! What a fantastic true life story! I teared up!


  5. Mary permalink

    Sweet story, I felt as if I was watching it unfold.


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