When I picked her up for our first date, she showed me the furniture she had made by hand for her dorm room. A chair, a loveseat, and her loft bed. Right away, I knew that she paved her own path in life. She was handy, curious, and willing to get dirty to make life happen. That’s my kind of tomboy!
The situation was complicated. Others were involved. The woman who became my third wife was simply the kindest, most empathetic person I’d ever met. Life self-selects.
I first set eyes and quickly developed a crush on my future wife in 11th grade (she was in 12th) when we shared a class. It was the only class I always rushed to in an effort to position myself next to her or next to an empty seat, hoping she would take it. A friendship developed but life took us in different directions.
Fast-forward six years. As I was friends with her brother, I saw cars in the driveway of their family home, and a year after having graduated from college decided to stop and say a quick hello. Lucky for me, her brother Bill was not in, but Diane was, and it was the first time that I was able to get up the nerve to ask her out to the movies, followed by a drink at the local watering hole.
That night, I told my buddies that I was madly in love and that Diane; without a doubt, she was the one for me. Within a few months, I was truly blessed when she accepted my marriage proposal.
Now, 21 years later, I continue to thank my lucky stars.
Two bachelors sorting through photos in L.A., me and my best pal. He came upon a 3×5 of a beautiful blonde who I have never seen before. I said, “Who is that”? He said, “This is going to be your wife.” Fifteen months later she was; 16 years later she still is.
When I met my wife, she didn’t need me. She had a good job and came from a loving family, so she was happy and well-adjusted to life. She saw in me things that were apparently hidden to the casual observer (like myself) and didn’t need to change me into someone else or squeeze me into a predetermined mold. But, what made me realize, quite calmly, that she was the one for me, was the fact that I found myself wanting to be a better man for her. I wanted to be not what I thought she wanted, but what I thought she deserved in a partner. That was a first for me, after a handful of selfish, denial-filled relationships. I still hope every day to be the man she deserves after 12 years of marriage.
The very first night we met started as nothing more than a chance meeting in a bar, which turned into a discussion of sports, our love of the Yankees (we met during the Yankees-Mets World Series in 2000), music, and so many other things that we had in common. Then, she suddenly admitted that she ate plain tuna fish right out of the can. That may seem insignificant or even silly to others, but I have always eaten tuna plain right out of the can and had never in my life met anyone else who did. Now, after more than 10 years together and eight years happily married, we still look back at that exact moment as our dealmaker.
The first time I met my wife, I entered her kitchen and said loudly, “Where is the love of my life?” She turned around and said, “Here I am!” Little did I know how true that moment would be because I was actually talking about a girlfriend (friend) of mine, who was her best friend, whom I’d actually come over to visit.
When I met my wife, Fely, in October 1999, she had been working as a nurse’s aide at Victory Memorial Hospital in Brooklyn. It was just before Christmas, and she told me that the people in the hospital had put up letters of commendation about the employees. We went out to dinner, and she showed me one of the letters, from a woman whose mother had passed away in the hospital. Fely came every day with a smile for her mother and washed her, and cleaned her, and brushed her hair, and always spoke with her. On the day that the mother passed on, Fely was there at her side. After she passed away, Fely was thoughtful enough to put her dentures back into her mouth. When the daughter arrived, Fely sat down and spoke with her about her mother’s last moments. The woman wrote that Fely was so compassionate and thoughtful, that she should teach the nurses in the hospital about compassion.
After reading the letter that the daughter wrote about her mother’s passing, I could not help but cry. At that moment, I was sure that Fely was the right woman for me since I had just gone through a divorce and I was hoping that I would find a woman who would not hurt me again. Now I am sure, after eight years that we have been officially married, that my decision was correct.
When we started dating in the early ’90s, I was living in New York and she lived in Tennessee. That was a time in my life when I was too concerned with what other people thought about me. Kristi was so comfortable in her own skin. She was willing to be uncool, which made her so authentic and so much fun to be around. I remember little things, like me bemoaning the existence of shopping malls and she looking at me and saying something like, “I love the mall. How can you not love the mall? It’s got everything under one roof and you don’t get wet or cold.” This may sound so trivial, but she still gets so excited about everyday things. The world is so much more interesting when I see it through her eyes.
Her other spectacular quality is that she fights fair. She rarely says things like “You always” or “You never,” and she accepts responsibility when she’s been wrong. Since it’s usually me who’s wrong, you’d think she’d get out of practice, but she hasn’t yet.
When she said, “I love Weird Al and D&D, too!” Nerd love is the purest love.