I was early. He was late. (Things haven't changed much in the past twenty years.) It was our first date. We were meeting at a theater. I walked over to him and as soon as he saw me, a smile spread across his face. I smiled too. I went to say hello and he pulled me toward him and planted one on me full on! Not a timid, just-met-her, first-kiss kind of kiss. A 1940s, just-back-from-a-tour, "hello doll!" kind of kiss. And I was so surprised I opened my mouth in shock! Which left a sort of impression I had not intended for the first few seconds of the first date with this guy I barely knew. He was still grinning when we pulled apart.
I always tell this as part of a long, windy explanation of how Tony and I began our courtship. It makes for a funny cocktail party story (at one point he has to break into his own car) and, of course, it ends well so Tony's learned not to take offense at all the jabs.
What I don't often include is the detail about the kiss. I won't here either, except to say it was damn convincing.
I had no idea on that day that guy would completely change my life. He seemed like a regular guy, kind of a goofy guy, to be honest. But in his very simplicity he is extraordinary. He's so strong and solid and faithful. And he's smart - way smarter than you think - and funny and loving and true. He's fallen down a few times but you simply cannot keep him down. He's a family man and a good friend and a hard worker.
He's getting older - creeping into those early 40s now. (I'm not, but he is.) And he's wearing down in some spots. I think it bugs him, but to me it just means he's got some living behind him. 'Nothing wrong with an experienced man,' my grandmother would say, with a wry. I agree.
It's been quite a ride so far, and I'm happy to be the gal who gets to celebrate every birthday with him. I'm glad every day I was smart enough to marry that guy with the nerve to kiss me in the first five seconds of our first date because... well... a million reasons; I can't even say, exactly.
But, I can tell you it's in his kiss.