Okay, love. You wanna know what love was like for me all my life? Read Playing With Matches. I am Leon Sanders. Funny, smart, and terrified of girls. It was cute when I was fifteen, not so much at twenty-five. I kinda figured I'd turn into one of those paunchy, bald fifty-year-old guys who hang out in bars and hit on the single mothers half their age. And I was okay with that.
And yeah, maybe I complained at work that it was hard to meet a nice girl in this wretched, central Missouri town. But I never expected for someone to set me up. Sheesh. Not that desperate.
"But she's a lovely girl"
Yes, I'm sure her twenty cats think the world of her. Sorry, I don't do blind dates. I tossed her number into a drawer.
But two weeks later, we get hit by a massive blizzard. It was the weekend and I wanted to get out of town. Maybe head to the local university city, go to a coffee shop and work on my novel (see, I had this pipe dream of becoming a YA author back then). Well, I didn't want to drive thirty miles in the snow, so I thought I might as well call that chick, see if she's bored. Sandy, is it?
Well, I call her up and she agrees to meet for a drink. Then, in a mistake that I will hear about for the rest of my life, I give her the wrong name of the restaurant. We drive in circles trying to find each other. Luckily, there is only one restaurant in town (it's since become an eye doctor's), so we found each other. After deciding whether I really wanted to meet someone who drives an '86 Oldsmobile, we go in. I'm bracing myself for an evening of hearing about why all Muslims and homosexuals should be deported as she blows cigarette smoke in my face.
It turned out to be the greatest date I'd ever had. And she didn't even like coffee.
So we keep going out. And then she drops the bombshell. She's moving two hundred miles away in a month to go to school (and to take a job that would require traveling on many weekends).
Now I'd just returned from three years in Mexico, and I'd learned two things: You can always fit another person into a car, and long distance relationships suck.
So I told her this wasn't going to work out. We should just enjoy the time we had. She agreed.
The day before she left, I told her I loved her and would wait as long as it took (which turned out to be a year and a half).
So despite all the odds against us, we found each other. Friday will be the tenth anniversary of that first date. We've been married over seven years. We have a wonderful daughter, Sophie.
I love ya, Sandy. And I could have sworn that place was called 'Rob's.'
Our first trip together. Left to right: giant hissing cockroach, Sandy, me, my epic mustache. Not pictured: someone breaking into my car.