I mean, seriously, who really expects the woman of their dreams to show up on their doorstep? That’s just silly talk. But yet there she was, smiling her beautiful smile, all but asking for my love, simply a romantic comedy sprung to life. Looking back, it’s just stupidly crazy how it all started. Heck, why do I even question the magic in the beginning of what would be a fairytale life together?
It was an early summer afternoon, sometime before June 14, 1999, when my friend Bruce called me up. “Chris,” he said, “Wanna go wakeboarding?” Back then, I had a pretty cool wakeboard boat, a green Moomba. I loved (and still love) wakeboarding. It’s tons of fun but this particular day I was busy doing irrelevant things and told my friend nah, not today. But then he said the magic words “I’ve got some girls that want to go to the lake.” Ah, how that simple phrase can warm a young man’s heart, especially the heart of a young man who has a boat. “Ok,” I said, “We can go.”
A short bit later he showed up at my doorstep, three very cute girls in tow. Lordy, had I known then what I know now I would have been so nervous about it all I would have blown the whole bit. I may not have even answered the door! But I didn’t know. And I answered the door. Ignorance being bliss and all, I invited them in. Cute girls. I’m not an idiot.
Once inside, I told them the flat out truth, that there was some inclimate weather in the area and being the captain of the boat I was nervous about their safety. We could certainly head out to the lake and see how it looks but I definitely reserved the right to not go on the lake and, of course, I apologized up front for being overprotective. They all agreed and we headed out.
Now from my house the lake isn’t a short drive but after out solid 30 minutes in the car, we pulled up, unpacked all the gear and headed for the already-in-the-water boat (thank you, staff at Riviera Marina.) And here’s where the tide turns. Sitting on the top of the hill overlooking the marina, with my boat sitting the water, I saw clouds, clouds that weren’t my friends. Damn, I thought. This is just going to be embarrassing but I knew my job as boat captain. The safety of those who traveled with me on the water was most important and given the look of the clouds, I did not feel that I could provide a safe day on the lake. Fun Chris was killed off and replaced with Responsible Chris. And Responsible Chris broke the news – no lake today. I just couldn’t do it. Thankfully there was no revolt /lynching combo deal that day. The surprisingly understanding group didn’t make me walk home and, instead, agreed to head back to home base and watch movies. Yay! Captain Fun Suck lived another day!
Back at the house… (Stop being impatient! I’m getting to the good stuff! Yes, I know you want the juicy bit but I hadn’t really “imprinted” on Maggie yet!)… back at the house, we gathered around the TV and fired up movie “The Spy Who Shagged Me.” We had a big cooler full of lake beer that quickly became house beer and pizza was soon on the way. (Ok, here it is…) That’s when I noticed Her. She was laying down in front if the TV, legs bent comfortable up into the air and, well, I have to say, I clearly remember thinking “Hey, those are pretty nice legs.” Of course, she kept wiggling them back and forth like girls do in what I believe was an effort to hypnotize me. She’d claim otherwise, I’m sure. That’s when it all really started for me.
Fast forward a couple hours. “Spy Who Shagged Me” watched. The sequel watched, too. And no rain to be found. The storm didn’t even develop. I was just embarrassed. Nonetheless, we had a good time watching movies and just hanging out. I honestly don’t really recall any significant conversations between She and me. Until……
She: “Hey, we’ve got a really great maid if you need one.”
Me: “No, I don’t think I need one.” (I was obviously wrong.)
She: “She’s cheap and does a great job. But I don’t have her number with me so let me give you mine* so you can call her.”
Me: “Ok” (Uh, turn down digits from this super cute chick?)
* I’m really not sure who gave who their number. I *think* she asked for mine but what does it matter. What follows, other than this little minor detail, is a true account of what happened and no names have been changed to protect the innocent.
By about 7:30PM that night we were on the phone. By about 10:30PM, we were still on the phone. By sometime waaaaaay after midnight we were still on the phone. And there were NO lulls in the conversation. None. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Not even a pause. Not one single one. I have no clue what we talked about but we talked… and talked. … and talked. … and talked. And it was wonderful.
Now those of you that know Maggie and her gift for conversation, this is certainly not a jab. WE talked. I had much to say to this wonderful woman. And she had much to say back. And I loved to listen to her talk. I was 29 years old and for the first time in my life I connected so purely, so effortlessly that I can only describe my experience as my soul saying “Ah, there you are! I’ve been searching for you for quite some time.” All was good.
And that was that. We were rarely apart from that day forward. Our first date followed immediately, as did our second date, third date and so on. Our lives quickly began to intertwine and it became unimaginable how we weren’t so intertwined before.**
** Many times in our wonderful 10 years together we would both confess that we just couldn’t imagine how life existed without one another. It sounds so cliché but it’s very, very true. My life really truly began when she and I met. Now that she’s gone… well, you see my challenge.
It wasn’t long before she was living with me. Not officially, mind you. But there were certain things that had *cough* “found” their way to the house: a toothbrush, a hair brush, a change of clothes or two. We rarely slept apart and I couldn’t have been happier. July 4th, 1999, shortly after we met, I took her to meet my family in San Angelo. I’m fairly certain they were stunned because I had never taken a girl home before. But I know they could tell I was happy. We traveled together, first to Las Vegas, I think. Then to El Paso for my friend Jeff’s wedding. Then to Cozumel. In Cozumel on a picturesque dock over a crystal blue sea with a fantastic storm blowing in over the water, I gave her the diamond necklace that she wore every day until, well, until she couldn’t wear it anymore.
I don’t recall exactly when I asked to her to move in. She lost her lease with her friend Alicia and she and I both agreed that it was important that she keep an apartment, just in case (after all, our relationship was still very new and all kinds of bad stuff could happen.) So she “moved in” with her (and now my) friend Rob. She slept there exactly one night when I was out of town on business. Sometime during that next six-month period I formally asked her to move in with me. She thought I was a nutcase because of my ridiculous formality but that didn’t stop her from say, happily, yes. And thus, the most blissful days of our lives continued.