Krissa is very fond of these little retrospective love notes, but I think I'll have happened upon a date that she won't have forgotten, but likely won't have been planning on declaring, so here you go darling. Everyone else, allow me this rare occasion to crow about how lucky I am.
Nine years ago, vagaries of leap years notwithstanding, I did the most ridiculous, sensible, audacious and prudent thing I have ever done, and I asked Krissa to marry me. I won't skip over anything; I tell you it was her idea. I got to say the words, "Will you marry me?" and hear, "Yes!" and down in the deep distress that we were sharing just before that moment, contemplating being apart, I had no masculine objection to the tearful, sideways and slightly cheeky, "I'll marry you if I have to," that preceded it.
This is because it was the best idea I'd ever heard.
Let me tell you what it was like to fall in love with this woman.
Nine days previously, my ex-backpacker pride delayed me several hours from my arrival time to Shiv's apartment, attempting to save what little money I had by taking the subway and bus on my first evening in New York and getting lost in the process. I met a sun-tanned, loud and interested pretty young woman...and so began my staggering run of luck, one I can only properly communicate by a tangled web of analogies.
Our ancestors developed a set of instincts in vetting a potential mate; they'd keep an eye out for odd smells, rashes, spasms or tics, a weird sheen to the skin and they'd run for the hills looking for a more suitable and hopefully less infectious partner. Now that the lion's share of us have seemingly gotten over the visible health signal territory, in civilized society we have small talk, where the information exchanged is anything but small.
When you first meet someone you're attracted to, you miss nothing. Odd turns of phrase, mentions of exes, parents, interests, employment, lifestyle, as well as body language, gestures...EVERYTHING and it it had always seemed to me to be a balance of judgement. Each time a new element comes up on this super-wide bandwidth of information about a new person, it's a roll of the die, and we're constantly judging their behaviour for red flags or dealbreakers, and - this is the huge thing - tailoring our own behaviour and topics of conversation to suit, or present ourselves as best we can, as we choose. That harmless self-editing might seem prudent, or deceptive, but it's in the same category as dressing up for a night out - it's window dressing, and we do it almost instinctively, even if it is marginally dishonest.
Here's the thing that started to dawn on me the first night I met Krissa - we talked and disagreed and discussed and argued and started accumulating a trail of exchanges to consider but I never for a second felt the need to window-dress myself. Every moment of shared company with this beauty was like a roll of the dice coming up six. Talking was refreshing, completely honest sharing. And we kept talking all week. It started feeling less like rolling dice and more like picking the right number at roulette...every single time, for days on end, with an equally immense amazement growing alongside it.
We talked all day and late every night the sensation of accumulating luck became almost dizzying. How was this possible? It was reckless and incredible to pitch headlong into each other's lives in this way but there wasn't a single hesitation or hold up in my mind or heart, nothing but sharing stories and understanding and rapid appreciation and love before I had even had time to take stock of what was happening.
That's what it felt like, inside my head and my chest, in that nine day period before nine years ago today.
Which is why when we said the words and realized we were engaged, it was insane and utterly right, and the only thing we could do for ourselves if we had any hope for life at all.
Yes even through the haze it was a risk but with that feeling inside, of adoration and immediacy of spirit, it was a life-gamble we were compelled to take, because...what is life if you turn away from something like that?
It was only another spin, another roll, when we were breaking the bank at the casino already.
I am one of the most lucky men, if not the luckiest man alive, I love my wife, and I am happy.