January 25, 2014

Chapter Thirteen: Our Love Story (Joseph's side of the story)

When I received the e-mail telling me that my old friend wanted to hook me up with a friend of his wife, I was less than enthused.  I felt that I was doing alright as a bachelor, and that my life was more than complicated enough without adding dating, thank you very much.  But I could tell that my friends were excited, and I didn't want to let them down, so I agreed.  Plus, there was a part of me (I didn't know just how large a part at the time) that was very lonely and realized it might be good to get out of my comfort zone a bit.  After my friends gave me a brief description of what Jill was like - or at least what they thought I would like to hear about her - we friended each other on Facebook, and I looked at all her photo albums and read a lot of her old blog entries.  So I had three or four mental images of what she was like before I met her, none of which were entirely correct.

Jill's Facebook profile picture when I looked her up. (It was an amputee thing for her I guess.)
When I saw this picture I thought I was going to be meeting a gangster wanna-be.

The day we were to meet I drove down from Wyoming where I had been visiting my parents over the weekend.  Just before I left I felt a migraine coming on, and took something for it that my mother had handed to me.  I don't get migraines all that often, but it is always the aura that bothers me more than the actual pain, and this one was bad, or at least different than any other I had experienced.  At the time I thought it was the medicine that caused this, but in retrospect I think that the migraine was one of those that can be called a mini-stroke.  As I was driving I realized that I couldn't understand the words coming from the radio, I couldn't make sense out of the signs on the highway, and I couldn't string more than a few words together, unless they were curses.  In spite of the language center of my brain being on the fritz I made it safely to my friends' house and began baking bread for our dinner.  But although I was able to dissemble, I was a bit frightened at what was happening to me, foggy like my head was crammed with cotton, and nervous at meeting Jill, so when she arrived, I was not at my most gracious, I am sure. 

I certainly was taken aback when she walked in:  A tiny girl in a ball cap and combat boots that said "Get in my way, and I will take you down," spunky, if not downright pugnacious, and I wouldn't have been surprised if she had been carrying a pistol in her hand bag!  I thought right away, "This girl will have no patience for you and your artsy ways.  Best just put on a brave face and make it through dinner."  I also thought it plain that she was far more interested in visiting my friend's wife than in meeting me, which was compounded by the fact that the two of them quickly left together to go do some shopping for some ingredient or another that we needed.  I certainly felt out of place in the whole affair.  As the evening progressed I began to realize that though it seemed Jill and I had almost nothing in common, I would still like to get to know her better.  After dinner we played some mahjong, and our friends left the game and the two of us alone for a short while for some reason - putting the kids down, I think - and we were forced to actually talk to each other.  After that, I was sure that I would like to at least be this girl's friend, if nothing more.

I think it was only the next day that I invited her up to my place to try to get to know her without the distractions of being at our friends' home.  At first, I felt just as awkward, clumsy, and shy, and I was sure that the evening was going to be a disaster, but it was ironically saved by another disaster:  Our experimental meal of lasagna rolls.  Now in all honesty, they were not as bad as Jill will tell you they were; just a bit crunchy, but somehow that broke down the barriers between us, and the conversation began to flow.  I know there are a lot of things you aren't supposed to talk about when you first start dating, but we broke all those taboos, and neither of us cared. 

Me baking bread for one of our dinners.
I couldn't wait until the next time I got to see her, and most of that interim was filled with fantasies of holding her hand, or kissing her goodnight as she got into her truck, but the truth is, I was just too terrified:  There was no way this girl could feel the same way I did, so I didn't dare make the first move.  All I have more to say on that matter is that I am glad she was bolder than me!

Another fabulous meal with the Tylers.
After that third date, we were together every moment possible, and work and sleep were no more than hours of drudgery that kept us apart.  The rest of that time is something of a blur, but I knew that being married to Jill couldn't come fast enough.  That blurring of time hasn't changed since then:  It feels simultaneously as if we have known each other our whole lives and as if we had just met.  Every day is new and exciting because I get to spend practically every minute with her, and the minutes we are apart are a drag.  I am glad that I was wrong about her having no patience with me and my artsy ways, and that we were willing to give each other the chance to know each other, because now we are the happiest couple imaginable.
Our kids!  They aren't this small anymore!

Our wedding party.

Read Jill's side of our love story HERE!

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