Enter: Perfect Girl


So if I’m going to be talking about marriage here (among many other things, I’m sure), I’d better bring everyone up to speed on my own.


First of all, let me say that I was never the kind of guy who was going to get married because it was “what you did.”  No, ma’am and sir.  After several less-than-joyous relationships, I was prepared to be picky and to never, ever enter into the Big Conjoining without the perfect girl.


What I found was that the old adage is spot-on: stop looking, and whatever you’re looking for will find you.  And what do you know?  She did. 


It was January of 2006 and I was working as a grad assistant at Western Illinois University’s Writing Center.  As luck had it, two of our tutors passed on (in the academic sense) in December, and we were left with a vacancy.  When Catherine walked into our first meeting as the new tutor, testosterone reared its head and proceeded to beat the hell out of me, forcing my attention away from our boss and squarely onto this new girl who sat quietly at her own table and shyly regarded everyone.  (Yes, shyly.  I know that seems impossible for those of you who know my wife.  But I stand by my choice of adverb.)


A few days later, and it was a slow afternoon in the old WC (water closet?).  I’m bored and antsy.  Catherine is reading (gasp) Dubliners.  By herself.  And looking amazing.  And not talking to anyone.  More importantly, not talking to me.  And as much as I wanted to change that, I was terrified in the way that all men are around women they’re crazy for even if they won’t admit it.  Enter my friend and scholar Dan, a fellow grad assistant who possesses very little shame and currently wanders the campus of Notre Dame, probably spouting poetry as I type this.  Knowing my almost pathological love for Dubliners (“The Dead” being my favorite short story of all-time, bar none, no question, I’m going to stop typing and read it again right now), Dan decided to help me reattach my balls and make the connection that I’d thought about all week. 


You two should talk, he said.  She’s reading Dubliners, and you both love old movies.


Talk? I thought.  I can’t talk to her.  When I even think about talking to her, my tongue retreats to the back of my head and in a matter of seconds, I’m twelve years old and completely non-functional.   She’d think I was two steps from a straitjacket.

So instead, I asked her to talk.  Actually, what I asked her to do was read the last line of “The Dead,” maybe the single greatest ending to a story that I’ve ever encountered.  She did, and that was it, man.  It.


I remember asking her about Wait Until Dark with Audrey Hepburn, and about Grand Hotel, and some other old movies that, to my surprise, she knew all about.  I remember talking about our mutual love of Chicago, and how she was moving back at the end of the semester, and how I decided right then that I was moving, too.  I remember talking about writing, and how we both wanted to do it for a living more than anything.  I remember that day vividly, even though the details from minute to minute escape me.  I don’t know that I believe in love at first sight – but meeting Catherine was the closest thing I can imagine to that.  And I knew within two weeks of that day, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was going to marry her or no one. 


So here we are.






~ by thismarriedguy on January 12, 2009.

2 Responses to “Enter: Perfect Girl”

  1. I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Thank God for serendipity! Love you both dearly!

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