When he first calls me to ask about getting together, I’m not sure if he wants to renew our friendship or take me out on a date. A couple of mutual friends dropped hints to me about him, and I’d enjoyed seeing him a couple weeks prior. That was our first meeting in more than six years, and those years have been kind to him. He no longer wears aviator glasses or has braces covering his teeth. His once lanky physique is now muscular. He was with another woman that night, but she and I shared a cab ride across town to our apartments, so I have to figure there’s nothing going on between them.
I accept his request to meet for dinner and afterward I realize it is in fact a date. Nothing happens between us that night to confirm my suspicion that his intentions are indeed romantic, but we women can sense these things. On Christmas Eve, I call to thank him for our lovely evening and tell him we can connect again when I return from vacation. During that vacation, my extended family rejoices in the news that he and I have gone to dinner.
“You’re going to marry him,” my cousin tells me.
Her bold statement amazes me, since all he and I have done is go to dinner.
“You know, he was my counselor the summer Papa died,” my brother informs me.
Upon hearing that tidbit of information, my father proceeds to tell me how he remembers what happened that summer our grandfather passed away.
“Your brother told me how he was very upset when he got the news. And then he said his counselor took him for a walk and talked to him about the loss. It was such a comfort to me as his father to know that someone was there for him when I couldn’t be. I was always so appreciative for how that anonymous young man handled the situation for my son,” my dad says.
I can tell that my father already approves of him, even though, of course, all we’ve done is have dinner.
It turns out that my relatives’ feelings about our dinner were right. I went on to marry that anonymous young man, who was once my brother’s camp counselor. That man also was once my camp friend. We met for the first time when he was 14 and I was 13. Neither one of us dated much in those days, but I remember linking arms with him and laughing. Laughing a lot, actually.
That first summer we met, his parents were moving from Minneapolis to the East Coast. Our camp was in Wisconsin. “Does that mean you won’t be coming back next year?” I asked him.
“No. No. I’ll be back,” he replied.
He kept his word. The next summer, he returned. We hung out, we laughed some more, and then that was it. We didn’t see each other again until that fateful night, nearly a decade later, at Cafe Lalo on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
It wasn’t love at first sight for us, by any means. When is it ever, really? It’s probably fair to say, though, that it was laughter at first sight. Not because either of us looked funny. (Well, maybe we did a little. It was the late ’80’s after all.) No, the laughter I’m talking about is the belly aching kind when your eyes squint shut, and you find yourself gasping for air, unable to catch your breath. That’s how he made me laugh when we were teenagers together in the North Woods of Wisconsin. And it’s how my husband still makes me laugh today, wherever we happen to be.
Even when we have our differences, he manages to find a way to couch them in humor. According to him, we don’t have arguments. We have “discussions…” of varying intensity, of course. He apologizes with levity, such that even if I’m not ready to forgive and move on, I’m left giggling. It’s so much harder to hold a grudge when laughing.
We vowed to stick together until death do us part. Obviously, we don’t have control over all of that vow. But the part we can fully own, the sticking together part, I never doubt, even during the most heated of “discussions.” At the end of the day, that old cliché that laughter is the best medicine holds true for us. Laughter is responsible for bringing our hearts together. Laughter heals any hurt we might inflict on each other. And unlike so much that fades with time, laughter knows no age.
This summer marks 26 years since we first laughed together at overnight camp, and 14 years since we started laughing together as husband and wife. Happy Birthday to my very own good humor man. I hope laughter keeps our hearts united for many more years to come.
How about you? Every relationship has its own recipe. What’s the main ingredient in yours to keep things on the right track? If you are not in a relationship, do you feel that there’s a key ingredient that would be necessary should you enter into one? Please take a moment to share your thoughts on love with me.
This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “When I think of birthdays….” Hosted by: Kristi of http://findingninee.com with co-hosts Stacey of http://thismommasramblings.com/ and yours truly of https://mimisager.com/.