We met at a birthday party and he offered me a ride home. It was early March and I immediately had a crush. I told no one, but fabricated a reason to invite him to a gathering with friends the following week. My friend Katherine had the house to herself a lot and lived within walking distance of a freeway overpass where we invented something we called "Truckin'" - which meant we hung out on the narrow pedestrian bridge and chanted "Truck Truck TRUCK TRUCK!!" as every big rig truck would approach. Then we would shoot the shit as we waited for the next truck. As I remember it, the overpass was more like a tunnel made of chicken wire and a cement floor. It had a narrow clearance and it always felt as if the truck would run right into us. The adrenaline rush was our version of underage drinking.
Sadly, when Katherine and I called Jeff's house to invite him over to "Truck" with us, his mother informed me he was in Seattle with another girl. A popular and pretty girl three years my senior.
But don't worry - you know this story has a happy ending! Just a week or so later - on Saint Patrick's Day to be precise - he dropped a card off at my house. A card he designed himself, and a card I still have in our basement, yellowing in a trunk buried under a box filled with "Edie's Art Projects: Years 1-2". His card said he was sorry he'd missed my call the previous weekend and asked if I might try calling again. We had our first date three days later and two week later, on March 28th, he took me out for a fancy dinner at Il Fiasco to celebrate my 15th birthday.
We were two middle aged souls pretending to be teenagers. People thought we were weirdos, but here we are, 20 years later and still hacking it. I turned 35 on Friday and Jeff bought me my favorite coconut cream pie from the Dahlia Bakery, then took me out for shrimp and grits at a new place in Fremont. Edie stayed overnight at my parents' house.
35 seems awfully old. But I feel strong and in charge and like things are hard, but overall good. Jeff and I might drive each other batshit crazy some of the time, but there are also other times when he makes me laugh harder than anyone. At 14, I found this tall, handsome nerd that would turn out to be a hard working, loyal, honest man that geeks out about energy saving lightbulbs and business self-help books, but who also does messy art projects and then takes our 4 year old for father-daughter clam chowder dates while I go to a Sunday afternoon party.
So here's to turning 35 and having spent 20 of those 35 years with the same man. Crazy, but true.