People have always loved the story of how my husband and I ended up together.
We met in college and dated for three terrible months. I love love LOVED him, and he could not have been more indifferent to me. Our romance lasted through the summer, even though he went home to Detroit to work at his hard-hitting job serving ice cream.
One Saturday, he came to visit, bringing a car full of his dopey friends. I’d been so excited to see him, and had dressed up all special in my black stirrup pants. (Shut up. It was 1986.) He ended up visiting only an hour or two, and then said he had to head home with his friends.
“Let your friends take your car,” I offered. “I’ll drive you back myself.” He had a 1966 red Mustang convertible he’d refurbished himself. You can imagine his eagerness to hand that car over to his (dopey) pals.
When he wouldn’t stay with me, insisting on going home with his friends, I threw an empty beer bottle across the room. He has exaggerated this over the years and now his Official Story® is that I threw the beer bottle AT him, which I assure you I did not.
Image: Metro Centric
The point is, once that bottle was thrown, he turned, slowly and deliberately, and walked out of the house. He drove away calmly. It was the calm part that told me I had absolutely blown it and he was never coming back.
Oh, I was sad. Dramatically, pitifully sad. And I never really got over that old boyfriend from 1986.
Believe it or not, we stayed friends. Even though he moved to Los Angeles and I moved to Seattle, we’d talk maybe once a year. Whenever we hung up, I’d think, “I wish I could meet someone like him.” He’d think, “No one gets my jokes the way she does.”
In 1996, exactly 10 years later, I invited that old college boyfriend to visit me in Seattle. And as soon as he got off the plane, I knew. By the end of the weekend, we were in love. Seven months later, we were engaged.
Every time we told that story, single people would say, “Wow, I wonder who I can find to marry from my past?” Married people would say, “That story gave me chills.” Our best man (one of the dopey guys from the car) mentioned it in his speech at our wedding. I mean, people were invested in that storybook story, man.
Which is why it’s such a shame we got a divorce.
I mean, you tell that great, romantic, destined-to-be-together tale, only to end it with, “Sixteen years later, they got divorced”? Insert Price is Right losing horn here.
But, the thing is, we divorced amicably. We’re still friends. We each have respect and admiration for the other, and 17,000 stupid private jokes that only the other one knows. (Dear Ex-Husband: “Rembrandt.” Heeeee!)
What I’m saying, here, is we still ended up happily ever after.
I would have loved it if my marriage had lasted forever. It was certainly my intent when I strapped on that $2,000 dress and headed down a flower-festooned aisle to marry him. But not all relationships last a lifetime. Some fairytale romances end up being short stories.
I’m still glad, though, that I have that story to tell. It’s a really good one.
Originally published on Purple CloverMore from Purple Clover