I was seventeen years old when we met. (Feel free to head to another page if you've heard this story before. It's one I love to tell, so I probably have written it already.) I was a cashier at a fancy-schmancy grocery store here in town, he was the assistant manager of the bakery/deli. I always looked for him when I was coming in to work, making sure to pass by the deli to see if he was there. If I saw him behind the counter, I'd get a little thrill. If I didn't see him behind the counter, I'd look in the break room to see if his HUGE insulated QT cup was there because that meant he was around, somewhere. If I didn't see that, I'd be a bit disappointed. That meant it would be a slightly more boring day at work. No flirting over the deli counter. No tugging on his braid when I walked past him. No "facing up" the baby food jars because they were right across from the deli and I could furtively watch him work and hope that he would talk to me. No having him slip gummy bears to me over the half wall that separated my favorite cashier station from the deli. No buying chicken salad on my break just so I could see him smile at me.
He was older than I was, by a lot; seven years, to be exact. I was a senior in high school and dating a boy who I genuinely thought I was going to marry. Yet I flirted, shamelessly, with this deli guy. When I stopped working at the grocery store, I would periodically go back to say hi, sometimes finding him outside in the alley, reading on his break, sometimes just flirting (shamelessly) over the top of the deli case. One night I arrived just before closing and he asked me if I could give him a ride home. I said I would, and he invited me behind the counter to wait while he finished bagging up all the leftover cookies. He then proceeded to drop an entire tray of cookies on the floor, which made me laugh and start to tease him. He stepped close and kissed me. My knees, oh how they were weak.
I gave him a ride home that night, and, you might say, the rest is history. Lots and lots of history, lots and lots of changes in both of us. A wedding, five cats, five dogs (not all at the same time!), five cars, three residences, one mortgage, two (fantastic!) kids, some tears, lots of laughter (more laughter than tears!) and seventeen years later and I'm so glad he picked me. My knees still get weak, I still get a little thrill when I see him. He truly is my other half. And, oh, how I love him.
Happy 17th anniversary, Ched.
|All dressed up and heading off to my 20th high school reunion.|