I recently realized that J, my husband of five years, has not had much blog space devoted to him. This led me to realize that simply calling him J is boring and bland and I need to think of something more suitable to fit him. What do you call the one that is your second half? Your missing *piece?
(*I almost typed, “Your missing link,” but suddenly a parade of images went through my mind that included dancing monkeys, Freud and Darwin. That’s a party for another day.)
What I realize is that you don’t know much about him. Perhaps you doubt his existence. Perhaps he doesn’t really exist, that in fact my children were test-tube babies and really J is Sperm Donor No. J914. I am here to say that is not so! He isn’t even Sperm Donor No. J913! In actuality, he’s a great champion for me and this blog and actually begs me to read this blog to him after each post I make.
“Honey, you want to hear my new blog post?”
“Oh, please!!! Again????”
See? He begs. It’s really quite embarrassing. Rinse, lather, repeat.
So I will tell you how I met him and how he and I became a we. This February will mark 7 years since I first met him. (Holy Tater Tots, Batman, where has the time gone?) The first time I met him was when he knocked at my door to pick up my wreck of a computer to fix. He wore khaki pants, a red T-shirt, big combat boots and was sporting a closely shaved head. Fashion icon he was not.
He was breathless after having climbed up the tower that I lived in. Once to my door, he made his way stealthily through the house, creeping quietly into my bedroom where I laid sleeping. The house was still. He drew back gossamer curtains, looked down at my milky-white skin, my red, kissable lips, my silky hair, and then kissed me gently, awakening me from a long, death-like slumber. Then the dwarfs danced around and threw diamonds at me. The birds sang while the bunnies danced a jig. It was like magic. True story!
So as I was saying, he was breathless when he arrived. Not surprising since I lived up four and a half flights of outdoor, steep, rock/cement stairs. You practically needed rock climbing gear to get up they were so steep. Once you climbed those sets of stairs, you took a regular set of stairs up another flight to reach the door into a cave-like hallway that would lead to two apartments: mine and my neighbor’s. It was more complicated to get through than the Temple of Doom. Enlightenment and truth they did not bring me. Thinner thighs and a well-versed, sailor-esque vocabulary, yes. Enlightenment no. It was a ridiculously large apartment for a ridiculously low rent, a sweeping view of downtown Seattle that touted a direct route to my downtown office. It was worth it, and I did it all for the stock options.
Back to my sweaty pre-husband. So I opened the door to a panting, tall, dark-eyed guy about my age. I was polite and nice given that he was doing this as a favor to me through a friend of a friend of a friend type of deal. Like any girl living on her own in a big city, I let in the nice stranger man with the sweaty armpits. (Neurosurgeon I am not!) He spoke low and quick — a combination that still gets me sometimes.
“What did you say? What? What? What?”
“If you listen you’ll hear me.”
“If you speak up, I’d hear you.”
I noticed that he had a slight accent, one I would later learn was from living the first 15 years of his life in Australia in literally the Outback. His mother tells stories of going to “town” where the Aboriginal women would take (he was a baby!) from her and pass him around while she shopped. They’d ooh and ahh about his skin, his hair, though mostly it was about his fingers (he has beautiful hands). They said he was like a baby goanna. At the age of 15, he was taken from there and thrown into a South Texas High School. G’day, ya’ll.
I noticed that he barely looked at me as we spoke. Instead, he fidgeted, he was distracted, and in general, acted completely and utterly uncomfortable and out of his element. Not a moment too soon, he was out the door, taking my computer with him. I would later tell my mom that he was strange and awkward. My mom would then tell me how stupid I was to let a stranger into my apartment, especially awkward sweaty ones. Touche, mom. Touche.
A few days later, Awkward Sweaty Tech Guy called me up to say he had fixed it. Huzzah! When we discussed payment, he said I didn’t have to pay him. Not wanting something for nothing as it is a sure way for Karma to kick you in the butt, I persisted until he finally agreed on payment: a one-year subscription to PC World Magazine. This is the point where my inner robot would be screeching, “Warning! Warning!” Did I listen?
So we arranged to meet in the parking lot of a mall in South Seattle. Not wanting to see the sequel of Awkward Apartment Moment 2000, I happily agreed to the very public space. We met later that day, exchanged the computer and chatted for a bit. This time things were different. This time, things were awkward but we were in a parking lot. It was uncomfortable to watch, to be part of and to even remember back on. Sometimes sequels aren’t nearly as good as the first time around. This time, Awkward Parking Lot Moment 2000 promised to have the same fame as the first. So, so bad. Did I mention the silent conversation that was merely punctuated here and there with words? I chalk it up to my animal magnetism and devastating beauty. He doesn’t remember it this way nor does he recollect how uncomfortable I obviously was given his staring, sweating and low talking.
The next move would seal my fate. I emailed him to be polite and thank him for making my computer run so well. We were fine. It was over.
Over the next few months, we would exchange emails and occasionally IM each other in conversations that lasted approximately 30 seconds, which is about as much time as we needed to catch up with each other given the amount we knew about one another.
“How’s the computer?”
I did recognize that he was more outgoing and flirtatious in the emails but I was simply not interested. This revelation along with his silent staring in person led me to believe he had a bit of a crush on me. Once realizing this, I made it clear to him that we would never date. He agreed wholeheartedly and I was suddenly quite confused. He agreed? You mean, he didn’t have a crush on me? What the heck is his deal? It was in this confused state that I was vulnerable and he swept in like a vulcher on some roadkill.
I had just quit my job at the sweat shop. The company was now post-IPO not-so-much start-up Internet company that still begged for 80-hour work weeks. With very little social life and significant signs of stress, I decided it was time for me to go back to school and divorce myself from the loveless marriage I had with my job. I was doing homework one day when I received an email from him. He had heard that I was no longer at the company I worked for and asked how thighs were. I emailed him back and summarized. He called me. We talked. He asked me to the movies to see The Matrix. I hadn’t seen it; he had. He loved it. I said, “Sure.”
Unsuspecting and ignorant, I fell straight into the trap. It would be over Matrix that he would try to hold my hand. In his effortful smoothness, I would move away at the last minute, not realizing I had foiled his attempt. Later, as I went to get in my car, I would say, “See you later!” And he would
kiss me. And it would be not so awkward. And definitely a surprise. I would get into my car and smugly tell myself that this was a surprise, though it was nothing. I was just not wanting a relationship. I had just started school again. I was starting a new life. A relationship was not in the plan. And I would soon realize that things NEVER go as planned!!!
That little kiss after the movies would lead to a couple of dates in which I insisted he pay for and insisted were just for fun. I insisted I was just basically using him to hang out with and to pay for things. I insisted it was going nowhere — to him, to my family, to my friends. He insisted otherwise. He then insisted he loved me. I insisted I did not. I thanked him for opening his heart to me and begged his forgiveness for not returning the same level of devotion. I insisted I never would. I had insisted this was going nowhere, right? I soon insisted that I loved him too. I insisted we would not get married. Then I just insisted the ring be large and shiny and princess cut. I insisted we wait a year, then I insisted six months. Pretty soon I was insisting on the white dress, the white tulips and the pink bridesmaid dresses and what to have for dinner. Before I knew it, the officiant insisted on a yes or no answer, and I said yes.
These days I know that awkward fidgeting is part of his charm. I know it bothers him when I point out his now very slight accent. He also hates it when I ask him to speak him for my poor deaf ears.
So I have decided that instead of J, he will be known as Darth but only because he would like it and is extremely strange and quirky that way. And he is kind of like Darth. He’s quiet and mysterious. Tall. Unsettling at times. Sexy in a way that defies convention. And also because he likes to play with those Star Wars swords (what are they called, again?), has a Darth Tater on his desk at work as I type this and a full Darth mask that I’ve hidden in the depths of our closet.
So with that, I love you Darth!