So today is my seven-year anniversary with the husband beast a.k.a. Max. To be honest, I never saw myself as married let alone married for seven years. I was never the type of female that dreamed about her wedding day or future husband, not that there is anything wrong with that. I just was never one of those people. That’s probably why my wedding was a bit of an overwhelming experience for me. Seriously, I have to pick napkin colors? This is something people notice? Napkins? They were blue, by the way. Still, I ended up falling smack into a man who got me. Not many people get me. Max is definitely an exception.
I met Max back in 2004. I was starting my last semester of grad school and coming off of about… oh… two nervous breakdowns and a large amount of hair graying stress. My second year was Hell, trying to stay afloat with classes, shows, my internship, and of course a really messy break up that summer. That break up left me numb for a long while. The numbness made my third year easier and I threw myself into school, proud that I went from wanting to drop out to finishing as one of the tops in my class.
I had two good friends in school and both were headed into the great beyond after graduation. My pals from the Gargoyles online fandom were up in LA which was a long drive from San Diego. So other than my sister, I was a lone island on the friend front. And the internet, while lovely, could only do so much to fill the void. I needed to find a hobby. I remember sitting online with my friends Karine and Jen after classes. The three of us always met on chat in the evenings to play catch up. I mentioned my needs now that school was wrapping up and Karine mentioned the Society for Creative Anachronisms or SCA; a historical reenactment group that studied, fought, and costumed in all things from Greek period to the late Tudor. She was involved up in Montreal and loved being a part of it. It didn’t take much convincing for me look it up. I’ve heard of the SCA before so it seemed right up my alley. Granted, I was a bit wary. The few people I did know in the SCA in my old home of Northern California were “stalker-ish” to say the least, but I figured that if I didn’t like it, I could always not go and get a restraining order on any of the kooks who showed up on my doorstep.
I did a quick web search and found my kingdom then sent out an “ye olde email” to the kingdom Chatelaine telling her who I was, where I was, and asked how I could get involved. She emailed me back the next day and gave me an email address for some guy named Farlin. So I zipped off an email to this Farlin guy saying, “Hi. I’m Cindy. Interested in getting involved. How do I do this?” I hit send and figured it would be few days before I heard back. I got a response almost immediately. Wow, this Farlin didn’t mess around. It was a friendly email. It gave me the info I needed and even told me there was a newcomers Yule party coming up that I could attend. He ended the email with his cell phone number saying to call if I had any other questions.
Now before I continue this story, let me point something out to those who don’t know me. I am a complete paranoid crazy woman. I’ve had so many encounters with stalker types that I constantly look over my shoulder for someone with an ice pick in one hand and a bottle of Vicks Vapor rub in the other. My hackles were always raised, terrified that any guy who I encountered, especially in the geek subculture, would latch on and NOT let go no matter HOW hard I hit them with a baseball bat. So getting Farlin’s cell phone on the first email gave me a warning flag. Of course it wasn’t an act of a desperate man but part of the SCA culture. That friendly helpful “Hey, need something? Call me, I’ll see what I can do” aspect all my SCAdian friends have. But then? Yeah, that was stalker behavior in my mind. Regardless of my paranoia, I ignored my instincts. In a horror film I would have been dead in the first ten minutes.
The meeting grew closer and Farlin and I were emailing back and forth. Around the fourth email he tried to give me directions to the meeting. Lost in a phone booth is a good description of my navigation skills. No matter how he tried (and trust me, the man is a breathing GPS) I did not get it. So I finally relented and called to clear some things up verbally.
This Farlin guy answers the phone and he has a deep voice with a little rasp to it, like there’s a hint of a laugh always underneath it. Which conjured up two images in my head:
1-Wow, that guy has one sexy voice, wonder what the rest of him is like?
2-Wow, that voice could be that of a serial killer because he could burst into a manic laughter at any moment and break out the chainsaw.
And me, being me, does not think towards the first option but to the later. So, now images of this Farlin guy in his mom’s basement, dissecting kittens on a dirty butcher’s table are dancing in my head while I’m attempting to have a rational conversation with him. We chat a minute. I laughed, he laughed. He has a GREAT laugh… Nope. Stalker. Don’t go there.Then he said this dreaded phrase:
“Hey, if you’re worried about getting lost, I can give you a ride. What’s your address?”
DING DING DING DING! We HAVE meltdown ladies and gentlemen!
My stomach dropped and I heard myself say “No no! Its cool! I can totally get there! Noooo need for a ride!” followed by a manic trilling giggle.
He paused, I think because he realized he was dealing with a nut job then responded with. “Oh okay then. No worries. I’ll see you there. Do you need period garb? Whats your size, I can get you some.”
ANOTHER warning siren started blaring in my head. So now this guy wants to know my size? Is this because he plans to wear my skin as a birthday hat later? “No its cool. I’m a costumer. I have stuff I can wear” I thought a moment then deceptively added “And I’m kind of a big girl so you probably don’t have anything to fit me.”
I wasn’t lying. I was referring to my cup size. But he didn’t need to know the details. I also may have implied I was a brunette and in my fifties.
This Farlin guy laughed again. God, he had a great laugh. “Okay no prob then.”
When we hung up, I truly felt like I dodged a bullet.
The meeting date arrived and when I saw the armored fighters outside the recreation center, I knew I was in the right place. What Farlin neglected to tell me was what room this meeting was in. Crap. By then I was five minutes late and cinched into a bodice with cleavage up to my chin feeling like a stranger and already skittish. Thank God for my theater training which made me look poised and in control while my inner soundtrack sang “AAAAAAAAAHAARRGAAAHH!!!!”. The only way out of an impending anxiety attack was to call Farlin.
His number was still in my cell and I called him, dreading it. Maybe I’m being egotistical but I think I’m pretty easy on the eyes and having a history of stalkers, I simply assumed that he’d be all over me like stink on a buzzard if he saw me. But it was either call him or wander around the parking lot another five minutes then go home. I’ve never been one to give up on a mission so I hit the dial button. He picked up.
“Hey, its Cindy.”
“The new girl?”
“OH! Oh yeah! You on your way?”
“Actually I’m here…in the parking lot. You didn’t tell me where to go from there.”
“Oh, crap. Sorry Huh. okay so if you walk north past the field-”
“Which way is north?”
“You need to use terms like left or right for me. I don’t have an inner compass.”
Another pause. This Farlin guy was either rolling his eyes or laughing his ass off while covering the mouth piece.
“Okay look.” He had a laugh in his voice. He was definitely laughing at me. “You see the flag pole out front?”
“Walk to that. I’ll meet you there. Stay on the phone in case you decide to walk somewhere else and I can talk you back.”
So he was a serial killer AND a smartass. Thanks pal. But I stayed on the phone, headed to the flag pole, and eventually, my doom. I noticed the young man standing in front of it, holding his cell to his ear. Wow, he was a looker with dark brown hair and great big hazel eyes. HUGE hazel eyes.
Beautiful eyes with cute bags under them that made him look like he stayed up late reading more often than not. Plus, he had a stocky build with broad shoulders, wide chest. He stood with his chin raised and shoulders back, complete confidence radiating from him. My stomach flip flopped. It was like God put all of my favorite visuals onto one man and then turn him into stalker because God SURE does love his irony.
The closer I walked, the more he looked around me, not even making eye contact. He was looking for my fake description. Clearly his interpretation of a big girl was not big breasted. I stopped dead in front of him and said “Hi” into my cell phone.
He paused, looked at me then clicked off his cell and replied, “You’re not fat”.
“I’m also not a brunette,” I answered.
He was friendly, polite, and had a wonderful crooked smile. Then he introduced himself as Farlin but admitted his real name was Max. Farlin was his SCA name.
I don’t remember much from the meeting. There was food. I chatted, and eventually did some period dancing which I was horrible at, but definitely I remember Max and was bugged that I was dancing on the other side of the room when I would have rather been talking to him. He caught me looking over a couple of times while I trampled my dance partner and gave me that smile of his, that sweet addicting smile that I still would bend over backwards to see.
At the end of the meeting I casually cornered him. Either he had no place to run or he wanted to be cornered because we stood outside my car for a good hour, talking. Just talking and enjoying each others company. It had been a long time since I experienced that and that warm feeling of comfort was something I wanted to cling to. I could have talked with him all night if his carpool wasn’t politely waiting for him in the dark recesses of the parking lot.
Max gave my hand a squeeze then asked, “So, you doing anything next Friday night?”
I thought about it a moment. Handsome bastard or not, sexy voice or not, I was not going to give my address to him… because I’m insane. So I told him I can come pick him up for the date. Actually, Max didn’t see my apartment until six months after we met. He even told my parents “Yeah, Cindy’s the only girl I dated who wouldn’t tell me where she lived for the first part of our relationship”.
But Max, being Max took it all in stride and gave me that cute crooked grin. “I’ll email you my address then,” he replied then gave my hand another squeeze and walked on off.
And I went weak kneed as I watched him go.
By the third date I knew that Max was the one and when he asked me to marry him I say yes in an instant. He makes me feel beautiful and charming with just a wink or a grin. He makes me laugh not because he thinks he’s oh so witty but because he loves to laugh and wants me to laugh with him. I never had someone like Max and that’s why I tend to go on and on about what an awesome guy he is. I’m blessed that someone as unique and amazing as him thinks I’m just as amazing.
And that is amazing to me.