We both agree it was a miracle it ever happened.*
A miracle, fencing, and movies.
I joined the college fencing club because I’d broken up with my boyfriend of two years and wanted a) a reason to spend as much time as possible away from the dorm; b) a way to work out some aggression; and c) a legitimate reason to carry a weapon.
My husband was the student coach and I became captain of the women’s team—which would be more impressive if I hadn’t been the only woman on the team that first year.** But that’s how we met and over the next few months, we became friends.
A three-day weekend was coming up, and he asked me if I was staying, and I said I was. He asked me if I had plans, and I shrugged and said “Reading a good book.”
He said, “That’s right, you can’t drink yet.” But he didn’t offer an alternative, and I wasn’t about to in case he was just making conversation, so we went our separate ways.
And then I thought about it . . . and called him. This was the first time I had ever called someone of the male persuasion with the intent of wrangling myself a date. I reminded him of who I was and told him that I’d finished my book.
“Congratulations,” he said, not helping at all.***
So I gathered together my bravery and said, “So now I need something to do. Any suggestions?” If he said, another book, I’d give up.
There was a long pause.^ ”Have you seen Highlander?“
“Want to? My folks have a VCR.”
So he picked me up at the dorm and we went to the rental place. Highlander was out, but they did have Terminator and Living Daylights.
We stayed up all night in his parents’ living room—they were away for the weekend—watching movies and talking and then he took me back to the dorm early in the morning. Our first kiss happened around then, though neither of us remember for sure—we were still playing it casual, I think.
Obviously, it didn’t stay that way for long.
You wouldn’t think Terminator was a good first date movie—or James Bond, either, for that matter—but it worked for us. Really, really well. A rom-com probably would have set up expectations we were too nervous^^to handle.
And we eventually did see Highlander, which became our movie in that spiritual, quote it at every opportunity, name our wedding-present-cat Macleod kind of way. Movies are still a big part of our relationship—for last year’s anniversary, we saw Bridesmaids. This year, we’re seeing The Avengers.
Still avoiding the rom-coms after all these years. Which only goes to show that it’s a good thing we found each other.
Happy Anniversary, Honey. Want to go for twenty?
*And he’s an atheist now. When atheists speak of miracles, they mean it.
**But I did beat an ROTC Marine my senior year—he had the reach but was too much of a gentleman to hit my more obvious target areas, though I believe I may have cured him of that once we reached three out of five.
***Sometimes when he tells this story, he claims that he was desperately trying to think of something clever and suave to say. Other times he says he was wondering why on earth this crazy chick had called him up to tell him about her reading speed.
^During which, depending on his retellings, the purpose of my call dawned on him and/or he realized he didn’t have enough money to take me to the only movie theater in town and/or he didn’t want it to look too much like a date in case the purpose of my call was actually simple boredom. Like we both say, a miracle.
^^Or clueless, depending on who’s telling the story.