**Spoiler Alert** This post is dedicated to my husband on our 8th year wedding anniversary. It may contain some sappy sentimental gunk so if you don't want to hear it, point your web browser elsewhere....
Upon meeting me, a lot of people wonder how on earth a born and bred New York City gal like me wound up in Paris. Which inevitably leads me to tell the story of how I met my husband. So for once and for all, here goes:
I used to date a really cool guy named Tom. At one point in our relationship it became pretty clear that we would be better off as friends versus boyfriend and girlfriend. Did I happen to mention we worked at the same ad agency? So we still saw a lot of each other and I think did (and still do when he's not too busy with work to talk with me) a pretty good job on the post-breakup friends part. Which is how I came to accompany him to a party one night as his "wingman." You see, Tom was quite smitten with a coat check girl he had met one day while lunching with some Clients. He had returned to the restaurant the very next day to ask her out and she invited him (and he me) to a house-warming party she and her roommate, newly arrived from Paris, were having.
So, we headed on down to her pad - it was a Sunday night (I remember because we always watched X-Files together and that night was no exception) - so not a serious partying night. We walked into the party and while Tom left me to go woo Mademoiselle French Fry, I gravitated towards a group of people at the center of the room who were discussing some such club they had been to the night before. A very tall guy in a beige linen suit immediately caught my eye. He reminded of a cross between Crispin Glover (you know the Thin Man from Charlie's Angels) and Ralph Fiennes, and just exuded elegance and charm. He had a girl on his arm who was regaling everyone with a story about how drunk he had been the night before and that the poor dear was so sick, he had barely slept and was now suffering with a terrible hangover. I of course reckoned she was his girlfriend and didn't think much of it as little by little, I found myself talking with him alone about French literature and culture. His English was so perfect, I didn't at first realize he too was French until he mentioned something about growing up in Paris.
From time to time, his girlfriend strolled over to chat; I was surprised that she wasn't bothered at all by the fact that we had been talking so long - it had been hours - and I mentioned this to him. He started laughing and seemed very amused by my comment. Because you see, she wasn't his girlfriend at all but the other hostess of the party and Mademoiselle French Fry's roommate. Well, that certainly explained a lot and so when he told me he was leaving for a short trip to Paris the next day, but said he'd like to call me when he came back, I didn't hesitate for a moment. For you see, somewhere in that space of our conversation, underneath a horribly colored hand-made patchwork blanket hung on the wall, something had happened to me. Something I had never felt before and couldn't quite explain. When I got home that night, I called up my best friend Jen and inexplicably blurted out : "I just met the man I am going to marry."
We were engaged a few years later during a truly romantic trip to the South of France. We had arrived at a beautiful chateau near Lyon and as we were getting ready to go down for dinner, he said to me, "You look beautiful but I think your outfit is missing something" and got down on hand and knee as he proposed and pulled an engagement ring from his pocket. It was a magical trip and one I will never forget.
We've been through thick and thin, ups and downs, laughter and tears over the years and we're two kids heavier than when we met. A more opposite couple you will likely never meet : he's practically never without a suit (even on a cross-Atlantic flight) while I prefer jeans and my Pumas. He's into opera and classical music, I can spend days watching MTV. He's a whiz with numbers, anything scientific and can speak intelligently for hours on any topic from Nietzsche to the Neolithic Revolution. I'll be the one helping our kids with their English homework...and did I mention I like MTV? Yet we somehow manage to make it work and have fun doing so. Well, except for that time when we were both unemployed and expecting our first child. That was certainly no fun but we got through it!
So to you dear husband I say, Happy Anniversary! I love you and look forward to another 8 to the power of 2 years with you (or 64 years if I am not mistaken -- I learned that the other night while he was teaching something to our 6 year-old!). And for this occasion, I baked up some of his favorites - 1 dozen mini cheesecakes in 3 varieties: lemon, raspberry swirl and pistachio/white chocolate. I think it makes a pretty cool flour arrangement (as my friend Elizabeth would say!) and a sweet way to mark our 8 year anniversary.