I’d known Nancy for three weeks when she came to my 21st birthday party in a hotel room in Madrid. She was cute and funny and one of the few American girls in Spain who didn’t wear makeup. We stayed up talking long after our friends had all left or gone to sleep. I was staring at the wall, trying to get up the nerve to make a move, when I noticed that Nancy had fallen asleep, too. I turned off the light, assuming I’d missed my chance, but the sound of the clicking woke her up, and it was there in the complete darkness that we finally kissed. It seemed like a magical beginning, but Nancy regretted the whole thing.
“I hadn’t intended for that. I didn’t want to date you,” she says. “You were so uncertain about everything and … so willing to do what other people wanted. I just didn’t feel like I knew you at all. You seemed really nice, but I didn’t have any idea that you actually had a personality. You know? ‘Whatever you guys wanna do. Wherever you guys wanna go. What are you drinking? What should I order? Where should we go? I’ll go, too.’ There’s not much excitement in that.”
Nancy told me she didn’t want to get involved, and I didn’t put up much of a fight. I’d never believed that I could actually change a girl’s mind if she wasn’t interested in me. But something about that night in the dark with Nancy was hard to let go of. All this happened right before Valentine’s Day, so I used that as an excuse to write Nancy a letter. (more…)
Filed under: my wife
Amy and I either met in pre-Algebra class in seventh grade, or we met one boozy summer night while dancing at a nightclub in Santa Fe.
We were different ages at each of these meetings, of course. And yet I’ll argue that both of them are accurate.
She was one of the first people I met in Santa Fe when my dad retired from the Marine Corps in 1984. I was twelve years old. My family had left San Diego, that heavenly beach town, and by comparison, the New Mexico desert looked about as appealing as a dirt sandwich. Yes, we blamed my dad. That’s what kids do. But meeting Amy and her quirky friends made things bearable. The dirt sandwich might even be interesting, I started to think. (more…)