This could be a very torrid post, but as Serendipity is G-rated, I’ll tell you a story. You are free to fill in missing details using your own rich imagination. This is perhaps more than the question requires, but it’s a complicated story.
I married Jeff in August 1965. I spent the next year finishing my B.A. and having my spine remodeled, so it was a few years before I got on with life. My son was born in May 1969. We named him Owen Garry, Garry being his godfather. Fast forward through a non-acrimonious divorce. I later realized if you just give up everything and walk away, it’s easy to be amicable. It’s also something you will probably regret — eventually.
In 1978, I was off to Israel with The Kid. Not too long thereafter, I married in Israel. The less said about this mistake, the better. In 1983, a state visit from the ex and (now) current husband (they rode together), showing up right in time for war in Lebanon. It ruined our plans to visit Mt. Hermon and the Galilee but created great anecdotes.
I’m back from Israel. Garry and I are an instant item. Having been apart for so long brought us closer together than we’d imagined possible. The previous decade hadn’t dealt kindly with either of us and we saw one another with new eyes. I think we’d always been a little in love, but there were so many reasons why it wasn’t the right time to do something about it. Now, shortly after my Israeli divorce from husband number 2, Garry and I got married.
Here’s how it really happened.
I’d been away for two weeks in California on business. I had come back early because I got sick, came down with the flu. Just as well, because an earthquake — the one that stopped the World Series — occurred the following day and if I’d stayed, I’d have been crushed under the collapsed highway.
Garry was glad to see me … until I coughed. Then he wasn’t so glad. If you want to know the definition of “mixed emotions,” it’s a man overwhelmed with joy to see the woman he loves — but knowing the first kiss will include influenza. The definition of true love? He kissed me anyway. And got the flu.
So after we both stopped coughing, Garry took me out to dinner. He was nervous. He was driving and we went around Leverett Circle at least half a dozen times. He kept missing the turnoff. Meanwhile, he was explaining how he’d had a conversation with his pal about real estate, and how prices were down, and how maybe we should buy something. And live together. Like maybe … forever? Was forever okay with me?
So having listened for a pretty long time, I said: “So let me see if I’ve got this right. You want to buy a house? Move-in and live together? Forever? As in married?”
“All of that,” he said and drove around the loop one more time.
“I don’t know about you,” I said, “But I definitely need a drink.”
The following morning, I asked Garry if I could tell my friends. He said, “Tell them what?”
“That we’re getting married,” I said.
“You said we should buy a house and live together forever.”
“Is that a proposal?”
“It is where I come from,” I assured him. Wouldn’t you think that was a proposal? I had to remind him about buying a ring, too but eventually, he got into the groove, realized all he had to do was tell me what he wanted and show up in a tux and he’d be a married guy. Piece of cake.
We got married 6 months later having known each other a mere 26 years.
I declined to have my first ex-husband be best-man at my third wedding. We did, however, have the “real” reception at his house. There was the official one at the church, but the fun event, with all the friends, music, wine, and sharing was over at the old house where I used to live with Jeff.
Life has a funny way of turning around when you least expect it.