Monday, March 13, 2006

Today I Met the Boy (I Did) Marry

I met Mr. Bump 7 years ago today. It was the day of the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. One of those bright blue sky Colorado days, still cool but sunny and sparkly. The day was downright promising.

I initially met Mr. Bump on Yahoo personals, back in the day when not everyone had a polished persona on the internet. He posted an ad, I responded. Truthfully it was out of character for me (I'm more of a lurker), but his ad was 3 times as long as all of the others and he wasn't looking for someone physically specific. I think his only reference was to modesty. (Hah!) He surprised me by emailing me back, and so the course of our courtship commenced. (In hindsight it was courtship, but at the time I wasn't sure what it was.) We talked about books and cartoons and growing up 15 miles from each other in small towns in Northern Colorado. We had a lot in common. After a few weeks of correspondence, I thought we should take the next step and talk on the phone.

Boy was that a bad idea. He barely said a word and so I babbled to make up the gaps. I, of course, being the insecure soul that I am, thought he really wasn't that into me. It was all going too well.

I'm sure he would know whether it was my idea or his to finally meet, but I don't remember that detail anymore. I'm not heavy on details in my memory. I have more of a sense memory--I can tell you how a particular meal I had in New Zealand last year tasted, what the seaspray felt like hitting my face on the ferry to the Aran Islands three years ago, or how that whole summer of our romance, the summer after I met Mr. Bump, was a soundtrack of jazz and Jonatha Brooke.

But we decided to meet.

My roommate and best friend, Ms. M, wanted to follow me and watch to make sure I didn't get abducted. But sometimes you just know that whatever might go wrong that day, it wasn't going to be that kind of misjudgment of character. Besides, we met in the afternoon. At a coffee shop. By Cheeseman Park, which is essentially the gay male mecca of Denver. I figured if he was secure enough to both live in that area and meet me there, I wasn't going to worry about abduction.

I remember three events that defined the entire day for me. I sort of knew that it was a different day, and these incidents proved that out. Whatever was going to happen with this guy, it was going to be different.

The first was that, on the drive over to meet him, I looked in my rearview mirror at a couple in the car behind me. The girl in the passenger seat was holding he hand of the guy in the driver's seat, and she was licking his hand like an ice cream cone. I guess it was supposed to be sexual, but it was truthfully just repulsive and funny. And sort of sad.

The second was that as I drove on I happened to end up behind a St. Patrick's Day float, a remnant from the morning's parade, driving down Speer Boulevard at 45 miles an hour. It was also a singular, incongruent sight. It was going much too fast for anyone to enjoy it.

And the third was that when I pulled up, half a block or so from the coffee shop, I could see him sitting at a table outside waiting for me. He was waiting for me. And I knew it was him. (Granted, I had seen a picture, but it was a fuzzy one.)

I'm not going to say that all my nerves went away, or that I "just knew" he was the one for me. Truthfully, at first I couldn't completely rule out the possibility that he was gay. (Well, he was living a block from Cheeseman, he was polite, well dressed in a turtlenecky kind of way, and he didn't try to kiss me for a good five dates.) But as we walked around his neighborhood, looping back to the coffeshop and then forging out in a different direction, I had a growing sense of hope in someone new. And yet, at the same time, he felt like home to me.

And he laughed at my jokes.

And now, 7 years later, here we are. We have a dog. We own a home. We both wear our wedding rings every day. We hold hands when we go on walks and we do home improvement projects together. We cook together, we bake together. We eat on the same side of the table. He taught me how to drive a stick. He doesn't let me get away with things like "the man always drives." He also does the dishes and he listens to me babble on about nothing. When I do a silly little dance he never laughs at me--he joins in. Mr. Bump is my lover, my family, my partner.

And he still laughs at my jokes.

Thanks Mr. Bump, for the ad, for Deitrich's, for our future.

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