She irritated him the first time they met. They were both at the airport, sitting next to each other at the shoeshine stall. She carelessly set down her coffee, which spilled and splattered all over his new cell phone. She apologized, and he accepted but didn’t mean it.
Later they eyed each other warily across the terminal. She looked familiar to him, though he knew he’d never seen her before. He rose from his seat and stretched, then approached her.
“Are you related to Anne Glamore?” he inquired. “You look a lot like her.”
She wasn’t, but Marathon Mom was on her way to New York to help care for me after my spine surgery. She had never been to the city, and despite my assurances to the contrary, pictured muggers lurking in every shadowy doorway and rapists waiting to attack her as she took out the garbage. Nonetheless, she was willing to risk her life to help a friend in need.
He introduced himself as Chris. He told her that he’d grown up with Bill in Auburn, specialized in insurance, and had been working with us to coordinate our benefits for the out-of-state surgery.
There were surreptitious glances at left hands. She was going through a divorce, but still had on her wedding band. He’d been divorced for a while and wore no ring.
When Marathon Mom arrived in New York and told Bill and me about her encounter, we fell over ourselves (not literally– I was confined to bed) rhapsodizing about Chris’s outstanding qualities. When Bill wasn’t around, I waxed poetic about Chris’s impressive swimmer’s build and outstanding hair. Marathon Mom was flustered and began furiously scrubbing the floors.
Bill’s mom called later to check on my post-operative progress. He told her the “what a small world story” of one of my best friends meeting Chris, one of his best friends, at the airport.
While Marathon Mom nursed me back to health, Chris had a disagreeable evening. He flew to Florida for business and ended up in an impersonal hotel. An hour later he was sitting dejectedly on the sofa, alone in his boxers, drinking scotch and channel surfing. Although he attempted to blow-dry it, his cell phone resolutely refused to work. His young son would already be in bed. He grimaced, and decided it was worth paying the hotel’s outrageous surcharges to reach out and touch the only person he could think of to call: his mom.
Chris’s mom listened while he moaned about his shitty day and the broken cell phone. She was usually sympathetic, so he was surprised to hear her say, “It doesn’t sound like that bad a day to me. Didn’t you meet a girl in the airport?”
He stammered his assent, and said, “Mom, she was wearing a wedding ring. And how did you know?”
“I just got back from a scrapbooking workshop and Bill’s mom was there. She says that girl won’t be wearing a ring much longer!” his mom trilled. “I can’t wait to meet her!”
Their first date was not a huge success. Marathon Mom had come down from her initial dating high and was freaked out about the fact that she was divorced and single. She was cold and distant. Chris felt rebuffed.
Months passed. Marathon Mom went on other dates, some of which were so atrocious that we snicker about them to this very day when she is not around. Chris was thrust into the background.
True love eluded Marathon Mom.
It’s been said that history is just fables that have been agreed upon. Every couple has a right to establish the milestones of their romance any way they desire. Marathon Mom and Chris decreed that their genuine first date took place many months after the pseudo-first date referenced above. This first date played like a cheesy chick flick. He took her to dinner and they talked for hours.
Just before she ran her first marathon, he gave her an encouraging card and a gift certificate for a massage. A couple of weeks later they went to lunch and he brought her favorite cupcakes with homemade buttercream icing. There were three inside the box, one for her and one for each of her two children.
One thing led to another, and then there was this.
Best wishes to the new family!