Looking back, I’d have to say I knew right away that she was something special.
I can’t remember the exact series of events that resulted in our first date consisting of shooting beer cans with a pellet gun in the garage with my friends, but I will never forget that she wore a pink turtleneck sweater. I was also impressed that her high-heeled boots didn’t seem to impair her ability to aim a handgun at all.
Most surprising, of course, was that she agreed to go out with me a second time. I was recently single and therefore skeptical, and reluctant to waste time dating anyone who might not appreciate my new hobbies, which were classic rock, cooking steaks and chain smoking.
I told her that I would love to have her over for dinner, as long as she wasn’t a vegan. She laughed on the other end of the phone and lit a Belmont Special Mild King Size.
“Vegan? You have got to be kidding me. I’m Danish. Our national dish is like, two kinds of meat, wrapped in meat.”
Later that night she ran her fingers lazily through my hair, our four legs a naked tangle, lipstick on my pillow, sheets in a twist on the floor. She whispered into the dark.
“I’m not looking to get involved with anyone, really. My theory is that most of the magic happens in the first three months. I plan to have as much fun with you as I can for the next 90 days or so, and then get out while the getting is good. Before we have to process anything, or talk about house keys, or monogamy. Before you meet my mother.”
At the time, and given my circumstances, this seemed impossibly romantic.
Six weeks later, my house burnt down.
Maybe she thought it would be cruel to dump someone who had no furniture or dishes and only three pairs of socks, I’ve never asked. But my 90 days came, and then went, and she didn’t.
By that time I had taken to smelling the clothes she left at my new house when she wasn’t around and playing the same song 20 times in a row and buying three giant bottles of that raspberry lemonade she seemed to like.
Her mother loved me, even though I was ripped on muscle relaxants the first time I met her. I lied and said I threw my back out moving a couch because the truth involved her daughter, a pair of pantyhose and vanilla-scented massage oil.
My mother said that she had never seen me happier, and my uncle grabbed me by an elbow and dragged me into his guest room and closed the door.
“Don’t you fuck this one up,” he warned me. “She’s the one, I can feel it. The whole family loves her. She’s gorgeous, and she can cook. She even likes fishing. Don’t be an idiot. Marry her already.”
It was true. Not only did she like road trips and dive-y motels and beef dips and drip coffee and small town AM radio, she also loved to fish. My uncle had taken us out on the lake in his boat, and I had seen the way her eyes lit up when she landed her first lake trout. He had noticed it too, and had raised both eyebrows in a meaningful fashion at me, and nodded his approval when she wasn’t looking.
“This is one quality babe,” his eyebrows said. “Don’t play catch and release with this one.”
By the time we moved in together last fall, I was well and truly smitten. Love songs and long distance commercials could bring me to tears, and I would willingly give her the last doughnut, the last of the hot water, the last word. For the first time in my life, I was actually paying attention to the latest developments in the gay marriage debate. Who was this Stephen Harper, anyways, and how dare he?
She makes me want to stand up in front of all my friends and relatives and say “I pick her, and she picks me. She likes fishing and Air Supply and I love the smell of her neck. I want to buy her a house with enough closet space and have dinner ready when she gets home from work. I want to mow the lawn and fold her socks, amen.”
We haven’t set an actual date, we’re still trying to decide whether we want a circus theme or a sports day inspired wedding. I maintain there is no real reason that we can’t have stilt-walkers and three-legged races at the same event. I mean, it is a gay wedding, who needs to stand on ceremony?
My uncle the renegade Catholic priest said he would do the honours, and all my best men will be women. I figure the beauty of gay marriage is that we get to choose which traditions we want to honour, and then make the rest up as we go along.
We’re definitely serving Danish meatballs at the reception. We’re registering at Lee Valley Tools, and Home Depot. No one is giving either of us away, and all of our ex-lovers are invited.
I’m buying her a diamond engagement ring, but we’re going to exchange filet knives instead of wedding bands. Formal dress is requested, and all guests will be encouraged to bring their own sleeping bags, swimwear, and bug repellent. There will be a live band, a complimentary bar, and waterskiing.
It will be the dream wedding that neither of us ever dreamed we’d dream of having. Afterwards, we’re going to honeymoon in either Cache Creek or Costa Rica, depending on the weather, and the fishing.