I’ve been in a winning mood these past six years.
Lots of people are lucky like we are, but not many get a moment like the one we had that day. The way we met may as well be listed in the dictionary under “meet cute.” It has all the elements: an over-the-top event, a chance encounter … even a shout from a balcony. It wasn’t the way normal people meet.
I’ll never forget that day. I wouldn’t have anyway, because this happened. When I ran out of my little walk-up on West 13th, eager to join the festivities, and found no one, I was a little disappointed. But then there you were, out on your deck, in that god-awful orange fro wig. And this meet cute had free beer.
I’m a sucker for free beer. I came up to your party.
We headed downtown, joining the throng at Granville and Robson; a backpack full of Pilsner and a pocket full of Wiser’s. We kissed. We fell down.
I love telling the story of how we met. I’ll never get tired of it, though I’m sure everyone else is by now. It was random and crazy, it was Canadian to the point of caricature, and it’s a day just about everyone around here remembers fondly. We were swept up in the excitement – after all, we won.
At the time, I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. But you lived next door, so there was that.
You called me. You came over more and more. Sometimes we even went out. And eventually, you said those three little words every woman wants to hear:
“Maple. Bacon. Sausage.”
I’m a sucker for bacon.
Weeks passed, and months, and it was just the two of us, holed up together in my apartment or yours. I didn’t tell anyone about you for a long time. It was three months – an entire season – before my parents knew. Being the only single person in your immediate family for years does strange things to a person. I liked you, but families get so excited about these things.
I went to Vietnam. That’s when it really started to sink in. You sent me messages every few days, and I realized I missed you.
Those first years were amazing. Parties, camping, motorbike trips all over the place. Nights spent in random seedy motels when we were freezing and nearly out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Moving in together. Barbecues, beer, more hockey.
You taught me to snowboard. I fell and broke my wrist our second time out, because of course I did. The concern in your voice as you helped me up was oddly comforting.
We took our first trip to Mexico – me in a plaster cast, you helping me tie my hair back, cutting my food, and holding my arm as we clambered in and out of the wildly-bobbing panga to Yelapa.
A few months later, we nearly split up, and I cried for days.
(Spoiler: we did not split up.)
We moved to Commercial Drive, to that big old house with its little garden patch.
We went back to Mexico. We hiked up river from Yelapa to the big waterfall, where you slipped and fell, pulled out a ring and asked me to marry you. I classily responded with “what the fuck is that?” and then “is that real?” and then “yes” and we got married on our front porch on a perfect fall day.
We had a big wedding party with tacos and pie and plenty of Saskatchewanians back in Yelapa, exactly four years and one more Olympic hockey gold medal sweep after we met. In our vows, you talked about falling. I talked about moments, big and small, and the in-between spaces where we’d made a life.
Feeling very grown up, we bought a townhouse in the suburbs…
… and we were three. You, me, and that other small being who’s both of us, but mostly all her own.
In the hospital room, after the flurry of post-delivery activity dissipated and it was just us three, you looked at me. Squinted your weary eyes. Smiled. Sighed. And said “wee one.”
But what I heard was “we won.” Which was true too.
Six years and one day ago, we didn’t even know one another. What a moment that was.
Happy anniversary, Justin.