The Marriage that Almost Wasn’t

Today was my 17th wedding anniversary.

Since we are heathens, we were married in a civil ceremony at the Durham County Jail in 2001. The magistrate worked at the jail instead of the courthouse on weekends, so we packed up our witnesses and trekked to the jailhouse to get married.

Before that, we lived together for almost a year. But how it all happened is the story I want to tell now.

Dan and I are both dumb as bricks when it comes to love.

We were friends for years before we started dating. We met in karate class when I was 14 and he was 17. We didn’t always get along so well, particularly since I was the teacher’s pet and Dan thought that was unfair. We also had some pretty severe rivalry going on when it came to video games (he called me button masher) and Magic: The Gathering (I called him you cheatin’ bastard).

I went away to college for two years and then transferred back to the community college in our hometown. We were both seeing other people by then, but not really liking them all that much. I saw him at karate and on campus, and we ran around with the same gang of nerds.

By the summer of 1997, we ended up hanging out together more and more often. We liked a lot of the same things: hobbies, music, movies…often we complained to each other about what we didn’t have in common with the people we were dating.

I knew by then that I was attracted to Dan, but I didn’t want to screw up our friendship by acting on it. It took one if my girlfriends stabbing me in the back to get me and Dan together.

She had the same birthday as him, so on their birthday I took them out drinking. Now one thing everyone knows about Dan is that he’s a cheap date. A few beers and he is in lala-land.

On the way home I stopped to go into a store for snacks, and Dan was asleep…er maybe passed out… in the back seat. When I came out this hooker was trying to put the moves on him. She knew I was interested and tried to poach my future husband, the bitch.

I drove home in a fury, and the next day I had to explain to him what happened and why I sent my ex-friend home early and was not speaking to her. So that was how we ended up dating.

Fast forward three years later: Dan graduated in December and I was set to graduate in May. Both of us were looking for jobs. I was interviewing with just about anywhere for practice, but by the end, I had job offers in three different cities.

Dan accepted an offer in North Carolina. When he was weeks away from moving, we had a long-overdue talk about our plans. I thought that because he hadn’t asked me if I wanted to join him in NC, it meant that we were either going to try the long distance thing or split up. He thought that since I was interviewing all over, I was going off to do my own thing.

In this talk it became known that of course he wanted me to come to NC with him and of course I was perfectly willing to turn down three job offers. Like I said, dumb as a brick.

I moved my stuff down that May into his apartment where he had one chair and a cardboard box for a TV stand. We got married the next March and here we are, 17 years later.

I don’t believe in love at first sight or soul mates or any of that nonsense. But I do believe I ended up with the one person I want to spend the rest of my life with. We make each other laugh and get each other through the hard times. We’re comfortable together, like that favorite chair with your butt imprint, the one that makes you give the side-eye to any guest who tries to sit in it.

I’m not great at being romantic, obviously, but somehow I ended up with an amazing husband, partner, and best friend anyway.

Happy 17th Mr. F! With all my crazy-ass love.

 

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