The Story of How My Husband Wooed Me

Because Sometimes all it Takes is Awareness, a Violent Patient and a Crossbow

Photo Credit: Myself

I was forty years old and my husband was fifty when we married for the first time. We took ‘wait a lifetime for you’ to the extreme. The story of how he and I got together is the same as any other love story.

“Boy meets girl. Boy claims it’s love at first sight. Girl doesn’t remember the first time they met. Boy asks girl on a date. They go on a few dates. Girl has issues and disappears.”

In my defense he did bizarre, stalkerish things.

He’d leave potted flowers on my doorstep all hours of the night. I’d find them at 5:00 AM when I’d open the front door to check for the newspaper. He called an average of 57 times a day. My answering machine was filled with his voice over and over, one beep to the next. He gave me a picture of himself. An actual photograph taken with a 35 mm camera.

We were friends and dated off and on for almost a decade.

Then, one day (I can’t recall the date) our story transformed into magic.

I was working in a state funded clinic. It was a shithole. I went out to walk alongside the street with a patient who experienced Dissociative Identity disorder and felt uncomfortable around people. We’d go on walks alone during her scheduled appointment time each week so she’d talk with me.

I admit, it was a risk. She did stab eight residents in the group home where she lived. Now, before she’s judged with, gasp! And, Oh my God! She didn’t actually kill anyone, she only stabbed them. I’m not defending her, I’m presenting her side. She was adamant the television told her to do it and in Trump’s America, maybe it did.

The (life sucking) major corporation he worked for was located next door to the clinic. As the patient and I were walking and talking, he came rolling up the street in his car on his way back from his lunch break.

He stopped to talk to me. It was awkward. I didn’t introduce the patient to him nor did I mention she had stabbed eight people. I did my best to redirect the uneasy situation and get out of there as fast as possible.

Later that night he sent me a message. We shot a few texts back and forth and then he asked me out. I accepted. A few years had past since the last time we dated and we were different people back then, or maybe it just wasn’t the right time. I was still a bit leery, scared and riddled with commitment issues but I’m also human and with that comes error.

We went to dinner. He wasn’t as nervous as he’d been around me before. He was funny and charming. We laughed a lot. We had an amazing date. I wore a pink backless, frilly prom dress glimmering with sequins. He wore Khaki pants and a stiff button down shirt. We danced outside my back gate when the night came to an end.

Our relationship progressed rapidly. Before I knew what hit me he was swapping his chainsaw with a random guy from Craigslist for an antique crossbow in the parking lot of the independent bookstore like it were a drug deal. I love bows and he knew it would be the way to my heart. I melted when he gave it to me.

Our romance blossomed. We spent midsummer nights illegally setting off fireworks. We built a potato launcher and launched potatoes across the golf course after hours. We were busted by the police for being in the public park after curfew. We’d lost track of time while sucking face.

We went on dates to the library and took dancing lessons that neither of us remember now. We went on vacations together and began planning for our future. He let me take close up photos of his mustache.

It became clear that we were in it deep. The years went by and we eventually married. I think about the things we still do that keeps our passionate love alive. Like reading obituaries and using power tools together.

His taste in movies is horrid. I have yet to get to the end of a movie he selected and not think, I can’t believe I just watched that. He’s the type of person who keeps the Sharknado franchise in business, but I love him immensely and with love come compromise, even if it means suffering through Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

I have my flaws and he loves me regardless. I’m sure it’s not a dream come true for him to spend hours in the art supply store waiting on my while I touch every item as if I’m a five year old.

At times we disagree and have a few not so great moments here and there, but isn’t that a part of it? I believe we need to in order to grow as individuals and as a couple. The goal in marriage is to communicate without being assholes. We’ve never said a single hurtful thing to one another out of anger.

On Sunday night I look forward to having my personal space back on Monday. Monday comes, he leaves for work and I find myself missing him.

What is that, anyway? Hello? Is this normal?

It somehow has worked. My irrational collecting of books is on pace to catch up with his boxes filled with useless wires. He’s khaki, I’m disheveled. He’s an extrovert and I’m so not. I run from public places when people talk to me.

I should say that relationships take work because they do and I know we work at it, but it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like it works, perfectly in all our not so perfect ways.

I still have the crossbow. I’ve fired it off hundreds of times over the years. Thirty years from now when I no longer have enough strength to pull the arrow back It’ll stay in its spot in garage. I could never let it go. It’s a part of the story of how my husband wooed me and will eventually be passed down as a family heirloom.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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