Thursday, October 05, 2006

How We Met

The day we met, you were nervous. I knew you liked me. Your smile said everything. I was working at Trader Joe’s in the mountains. It had been a long day and people filled the store. You were standing there with a can of tuna and a protein bar. I was in love.

“Are you out of walnuts?” you asked.

“Let me check.” So I went to the storeroom and giggled a little. I knew we were out of walnuts and didn’t have to check. But it was a great excuse to go giggle a little.

“Yep, looks like we’re out of walnuts,” I replied, knowing it wasn’t really walnuts you were interested in.

“Okay, thanks for checking.”

We both stood there awkwardly for a moment, waiting for the sky to open and a chorus of angels to sing ALLELUJAH!!! But the only sound was a bad Musac tape of Jimmy Buffet singing something about pina coladas.

It was the end of the day and I was making $7.15 an hour, not to stand there talking to cute boys. So, I returned to the front and you got in the long line. Ahead of you was a woman who I knew would have a million questions about cheese or the freshness of the kiwis, or how the last time she was here, the cashier gave her a discount on artichoke hearts. You were also behind a lonely guy with a twenty pound bag of cat food.

It wasn’t my job to open up a new line. Tonight I was in charge of cleaning the registers, and taking out the trash. But there you were, towering above everyone else with a huge Cheshire grin, a can of tuna, and a protein bar.

I motioned to you that I was opening a new register. And that was the beginning of our life together.

After you left, I grabbed the 50-gallon garbage bag around my back like Santa Claus, and headed to the bin behind the store. You were in the parking lot, waiting for me. This is LA, I should have been scared. Technically you were stalking, but I knew by your smile you were kind.

You held out your hand and introduced yourself. It was very formal, very unlike you. All I could think was that I was just touching garbage and really should have washed my hands before shaking yours. But you didn’t seem to mind. And by the way, you could have helped me throw that huge bag into the bin. It was above my head, and you were standing right there. I guess it was a sign that for the rest of my life, I would have to take out the garbage. But this is a love note and I have the rest of your life to nag.

Our first real conversation was about hiking, coyotes, bobcats and foxes. We both loved the mountains and camping. You said that you road here on your bicycle. It was dark and I was already worried about you riding home.

The next day, a coworker handed me the phone, “It’s for you.”

“But I don’t know anyone in LA,” I said.

You were on the other line, strangely quiet for a phone conversation. And you didn’t say why you were calling. The other girls stared at me like, “Is it the tall walnut guy?”

You said you could tell I grew up in a beautiful, green place. You said that you enjoyed meeting me. You said that you were glad I liked coyotes.

So I said, “Would you like to go out for coffee?”

You said, “Yes.”

On our first date you brought your photo portfolio and showed me amazing pictures of your daughter’s first breath, the cowboy at the football game and my favorite, the woman holding her baby on her shoulders, with the people on the balcony behind her. I thought you were gifted, and beautiful.

A week later I told my friend that I knew you were the one.

Marrying you was the best decision I ever made. When I think about growing old with you and looking at our photo albums of Froggy's first breath and our lives together, it actually makes me look forward to grey hair and arthritis.

I can not imagine my life without your humor, kind eyes and Cheshire grin. You still look at me with the same love you had when asking about the walnuts. And I am still just as thrilled when you walk through the door at the end of the day, as I was when you walked into my Trader Joe’s in the mountains.


froggyaunt said...

Ah, makes me teary, FM. You wrote this well. I especially like your last two paragraphs. Love that lasts is rare. It requires hanging on. Do it well.

Anonymous said...

You wrote that wonderfully.
Happy Anniversary!!!

Charlotte said...

That was very sweet, Elise...Now I'm all choked up!