Monday, February 17, 2014

This Guy at My Job (Happy Anniversary)

Seven years ago today, I awoke early, a light in my eyes and a song in my heart.

It was my wedding day!

My favorite photo from that day... and every day since.
Though I could share many a memory from then, my current thoughts are focused on the path leading to that moment.

A moment I never thought would happen.
Though strange to realize, there were years when I didn't know Horace existed, when I wanted and loved other people. There was a time when he was just the creepy security guard at my job—a description he disputes to this day—and I was a brokenhearted girl whose happily-ever-after ended in a thirteen-and-a-half-minute phone call.

I remember going to work, to school, to church, and home again, home again, jiggity-jog, jiggity-jog. I remember avoiding all contact with male strangers, violently indifferent to the notion of getting to know someone new. Why on earth would I want to invest in someone else just to have him later snatched away without warning?

A year or so before Horace came along, I was in the Women’s Support Group at my former church. Amid complaints about current relationship issues, a woman said, “I’m gonna be so glad when Mr. Right comes along.” Our group leader shook her head with a soft laugh. “No, you won’t. You’ll give him a hard time, thinking he’s all wrong.” We looked at her like she had six heads, and she elaborated. “He’ll be so different than what you’re used to that you won’t recognize he’s right for you.”

Not only did I not recognize Horace's rightness, but I also went out of my way to avoid him. Something about him made me unspeakably skittish, so much so that I faked phone calls or hid behind my office door when I heard his voice in the hallway. Yes, he was bold and imposing—beyond his sheer physicality—but my shrinking response was rooted in an anticipatory awe, as if my soul knew Horace was too much yet exactly right. 

It seemed our group leader was correct.

Eventually I stepped away from the crazy long enough to speak when he passed my office door. “Hello” became “How are you?” which swelled to bits of conversation. His forthright, borderline arrogant delivery intrigued me, and before I knew it, I went from hiding behind my door to sneaking to the bathroom a few minutes before his start-time to brush my teeth and check what little makeup I wore. I’d clean off my desk—but not so much as to appear idle to any passing supervisors—and switch playlists for the proper mood.  

Not so creepy anymore, eh?

Despite my obvious infatuation, I was the last to recognize my feelings. One night at church, a friend asked what was up with me, adding, "You're practically glowing!" I was so happy someone had noticed! “It’s my new skin care system!" I beamed. "The moisturizer is oil-free but makes my skin really soft and pretty.” She nodded through her surprise, but her curiosity was satisfied when another friend quipped, "Mmm-hmmm, if her moisturizer is called 'Horace Madre Jr.'!" I couldn't hide my face-splitting grin, yet when she asked who he was, I still offered a blithe, "Oh, just this guy at my job.”

This glow-inducing, thought-provoking guy at my job who made me smile and laugh as I never thought I would again. This dedicated, proudly paternal guy at my job whose dedication to his five children only made him more attractive. This always honest, allergic-to-bullshit guy at my job who told me in our second phone conversation that I was his choice and he would wait for my heart's availability as long as he had to. 

This patient and protective guy at my job who wooed and won me just by being himself. This sensual and steadfast guy at my job who less than a year after we started dating asked me to marry him. This promise-keeping, life-changing guy at my job who married me less than a year after that.

This toe-curling, occasionally infuriating, endlessly fascinating guy at my job who nine years, seven children, and a host of experiences later still makes me want to check my teeth and change my playlist when he comes into the room. This lunacy-managing, silently sexy guy at my job who somehow tolerates me and my shenanigans day after day. 

This all-of-the-above man of my heart who is so much more than some guy at my job. 

To you, Babe, I wish the happiest of anniversaries. Thank you for being so noticeably, amazingly, anything-but-creepy. 

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