This entry isn’t likely to be hugely amusing so if you’re looking for something edgy and slightly raw, check out
T-Bone. But if you’re up for a cozy, read on.
It was five years ago on this day that I fell in love with the woman who now sits across from me at the breakfast table, speaking in monosyllables until she finishes her second cup of tea. It’s a story I’ve not been shy about telling, but if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to take another stroll down amnesia lane.
The first time I saw my future wife, I thought she was a boy. I was sitting in Shannon Airport waiting for my hiking group to assemble when I saw a person dressed in a puffy waterproof wearing sunglass and a baseball cap pulled low over short, dark hair. I didn’t think anything of it; I was too worried about what might be in store for me. Being one of two single men in the assembling group, I knew I would be bunking with another single man and, having experienced the quaint backwardness of rural Ireland during the previous days, was wondering if the boarding house custom of men sharing the same bed was still de rigueur.
For my wife’s part, she didn’t even notice me. The first recollection she admits to occurred during a refreshment stop at a café. I was, she later told me, the geeky American who couldn’t figure out how to get a cup of coffee, or pay for it; I was woefully ill-prepared for the excursion we were embarking on and had managed to leave my shaving gear at the hotel I stayed in the night before. By the time I sat down at the table with her and her companions, she had me pegged as an inept and inexperienced
traveller, as well as an American.
It was not love at first sight.
In my defense, I was an experienced hiker, but only in America. Ireland took me totally by surprise and I found myself, on our second day of walking, accepting first aid from this obviously-not-a-boy-but-I-forgot-her-name (all I could remember was it had an exotic ring to it, like Chastity or
Shibbon) person in the form of chewable aspirin and an Ace Bandage. While I continued to display a curious lack of what she considered common sense, she demonstrated her talent for locating bog holes by periodically disappearing from sight. I suppose you could argue that our first date consisted of me extracting her from a muddy pit.
My lack of foresight continued to haunt me when, on the fourth day, our leader told us our bags would be shipped to our next destination the following morning while we toured the island of
Inishmore. I had cleverly packed for a two week vacation in an overnight bag and a rucksack, which meant my rucksack would have to go with the luggage, leaving me nothing to carry my provisions for the day in. It also meant I didn’t have enough clothes for the entire two weeks. This was actually part of my plan, and it was working quite nicely, thank you. The complementary portion of the plan—finding a Laundromat—was not. By now, I was wearing novelty tee shirts I had bought as gifts for friends back home. My future wife (although to this day she maintains that this was not what she was plotting) volunteered to let me put my gear in her pack.
We spent the day wandering around Inishmore and the next day she took further pity on me and volunteered to help find someplace to wash my clothes.
We scoured the nearby town, eventually ferreting out the local washerwoman, who undoubtedly doubled as the village Wiccan on slow days, and headed off to see the Cliffs of
Moher. For much of the week, the weather had been miserable, but this was a bright, sunny day and we had a lovely, long, and leisurely walk during which I acquired a near fatal dose of sunburn (I was wearing shorts and a tee shirt, the only clean clothes I had left) and an unexpected slap upside the head from
Angus Mac Og. The sunburn eventually went away, but my ears are still ringing.
We talked non-stop that whole day, mostly about the differences in our cultures. At one point on our walk, she demonstrated the technique of throwing a cricket ball. It was while watching her wind up for the throw that a sudden, horrible truth made my blood run, literally, cold. “Oh my God,” I thought, “I’m falling in love with this woman!”
You have to understand that I was not yet a year out of a relationship with a harridan I now refer to only as “She Who Must Not Be Named” or My Hideous Ex-Girlfriend. I had promised myself, while caught like a coyote in a leghold trap in that seventh circle of hell masquerading as a relationship, that if I ever got out alive, I would hire a guy to follow me around and kick me in the ass if I ever looked twice at another woman.
Sensing the danger I was in, I back-peddled furiously, managing even to bring up the subject of matrimony just so I could tell her how thoroughly and absolutely I was through with women.
The next day, after breakfast and before the van came to take us back to the airport, we took a walk down an idyllic country lane and stopped on a moss-covered, stone bridge. I had resolve on my side, but Angus would not be denied; I took her hand, kissed her and . . .
. . . “What was that, dear? No, I'm not doing anything important, just writing an article for the web site. Of course I’ll get you another cup of tea.”
<=Prev Home Next=>