Monday, November 2, 2009

How I met my wife...

I mentioned, in my last post, that the way in which my wife and I got together tends to suggest that some Higher Power was shuffling us around on the Great Cosmic Chessboard - either that, or someone, somewhere, flipped on the Infinite Improbability Drive for a brief spin around the galaxy. A couple of people asked to hear the story, so I'm going to try to oblige. This is a little complicated, because it intersects with several other stories, and I'm not sure I can really sort all of them out and still show you just how ridiculously unlikely it was for me to end up married to the Beautiful Woman.

Let's start with some background (and I'll try to keep this as simple as possible). I graduated early from high school, and went to college out of state. My first two years of college had some enjoyable and memorable moments, but overall I was not very happy. (The technical term is "depressed", though I didn't recognize it at the time.) I was more than a little out of place, and I spent a lot of time alone - more than was healthy, even for a natural loner like me. The summer after my sophmore year, I went to a party with one of my friends from high school, and made the Earth-shaking discovery that not all colleges were like mine. Dizzy with revelation, I transferred.

This turned out to be one of the best things I could have done. I was still decidedly odd by the standards of the school, but I wasn't the only one; and I quickly stumbled into a small tribe of people who were not only odd, but odd in a lot of the same ways I was odd.

It was in this context that I first met the Beautiful Woman.

She was, of course, dating someone else. (Actually, when I first saw her, she was halfway through a fairly thick science fiction novel, and utterly engrossed in her reading.) In point of fact, she was dating one of my friends, a charismatic fellow with a flair for melodrama and a truly awe-inspiring inability to actually finish anything, ever. They broke up fairly soon after, but one of my friends and I both made a point of telling the Beautiful Woman that we really hoped she would continue to hang around with the group. She did, and the fellow she'd been dating got over it, and we all went on to have a lot of fun together.

I was, at the time, also dating someone else, someone who went on to become my wife (after college), my ex-wife, and (after seeking an annulment so she could join the Catholic church) finally my Supposed Former Wife. So the Beautiful Woman and I never dated in college. Instead, we hung around a lot, occasionally wrestled in the student center, and generally drove each other (and my then-girlfriend) completely crazy.

This continued until, I think, the semester before I graduated. At that point, several members of the tribe had graduated already, and the group was basically coming apart. The Beautiful Woman essentially quit speaking to me, and spent her time elsewhere. At the time, I didn't know whether I'd done something to offend her, or whether she was just going her own way. (It turns out to have been a bit of both.) So, shortly before I graduated, I left her a mixed tape and a note of conditional apology. ("If I did something to offend you, I'm sorry.") She wasn't in at the time, so I left it in the office of her dormitory.

I went on to graduate, get a job, leave the job for grad school, and... drat, I'm going to have to include a few more details. Okay, here's the relevant bit: I enrolled in grad school along with a friend from the tribe, who had graduated a bit earlier. We wound up in Stephenville, Texas (Tarleton State University), partly because a pair of gay, Hasidic rabbis - also members of the tribe, or at least closely affiliated with it - had bought some land down there.

Right, so - just before my final semester of Grad School, I got married to my college girlfriend, who was A) graduating and B) going into the Army as a nurse. I finished my degree and moved up to Lawton, Oklahoma to be with her, thus beginning an even more purgatorial time than my first two years of college. I was, again, very isolated (and I do not "break the ice" easily or quickly); I was unemployed; and I was not happy with the marriage, either. This went on for about three years. I should note for the record that my then-wife was not in any way to blame for this.

Somewhere towards the end of that period, I drove down to visit the Rabbis on their ranch. This was mostly in an effort to salvage my sanity by getting the Hell out of Lawton for couple of days, though it might also be fairly described as "running away from my personal problems". It had been at least six months - probably closer to a year - since I'd seen them, so we were mostly catching up. And it was in their house that statistical probability went right off the rails.

That was the same evening that the Beautiful Woman decided, purely on a whim, to call the Rabbis; and I happened to be standing next to the phone when it rang, so I answered it. I have no idea which of us was more surprised. At this point it had been at least six years since we'd last spoken; and it had been quite a while since she'd spoke to the Rabbis, as well.

We talked a little, and made arrangements to get together for lunch the following day... because, y'know, after a coincidence like that, how could we not?

We met at a Chili's, got a table, and placed our order. Then the manager came by, and told us that they needed the table for a large group which was coming in. She offered to give us our lunch for free if we'd switch tables, so we did, and she did. This was unprecedented in my experience, at least as unlikely as the phone call that reconnected us in the first place. It's the sort of thing that simply never happens.

After that, we kept in touch by e-mail. Soon after, my marriage imploded and I moved back to Dallas; a few months after that, the Beautiful Woman and I got together; and we've been together ever since - three years of dating (mostly long-distance) and now seven years of marriage. We have a three year old boy, and another one on the way.

And that is the ridiculously improbable way in which I got (back) together with my wife.

Edited to add: I don't think "miracle" is too strong a word, here.


  1. The phone call is certainly an amazing coincidence or synchronicity or *something* quite special anyway. :) Thanks for sharing!


  2. Thanks for sharing that. I especially love how you describe the Great Cosmic Chessboard and the Infinite Improbability Drive. I believe in forces larger than ourselves pushing us in subtle (and not so subtle) ways. Remind me to tell you our "How We Got Together" story sometime. ; )


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