Several years ago when my younger brother was contemplating marriage, he called and asked me how I knew my wife was the one. Now, you would have to know my brother to know how big a deal this really was. For him to even ask a question like this concerning any woman was huge.
Of course, love is always such a deeply personal thing, and we cannot always pinpoint that exact moment we knew or, better still, causation, so I told him I would get back to him.
I then I sat down and thought about it for a minute or two before I realized that before my mind ever registered what was going on, the psychosomatic symptoms provided all the evidence I needed; at just the mention of her name, at the very thought of her, I got all light-headed, and my skin got all clammy, and above all, I got butterflies deep in the pit of my stomach.
You know, for the longest time I could think of nothing else but her. And I began to do just absolutely absentminded, foolish things. For instance, one day I was to meet her after my last class, a late evening class, for dinner. That class lasted perhaps longer than any other class I had ever attended in my life. And I didn’t learn anything that evening because she so preoccupied my mind.
As I left campus that evening, my gas light came on. So, I stopped at a gas station, ran in and paid for my gas, ran out of the gas station and jumped in my car and just drove off. I never realized that I didn’t even take the time to pump my gas until about ten minutes later when I was sitting on the side of the road. I ended up calling her to come get me.
And then there were those instances when I knew she was to be getting out of class or off work soon, and I could expect her to call me or stop by. As the time of that expected call or visit neared, I could do nothing else, I could think of nothing else. I just sat by the phone or peeked out the window every two minutes, with my skin all clammy and my stomach tied up in knots while I wringed my hands like a nervous old woman.
This whole thing, this love thing, shocked my sensibilities. I was a person who took pride in my self-control. And suddenly I had none.
But perhaps what solidified the whole thing for me was when I begin to think in the plural terms of we and not I whenever I had occasion to have an introspective moment and think about the future; I could not even begin to imagine my future without her in it.
All of this came back this afternoon when I got a text message from my wife. It read simply,
“Way ahead on my workload, and I have no trainings for this afternoon. Taking off at noon and going home. Why don’t you meet me there?”
Of course, I tried to be cool about the whole thing. I tried to be coy. So I sent her a message back: “Don’t know what we do with a whole afternoon by ourselves. Do you have anything planned?”
And she shot back, “Just tea and crumpets. Are you coming?”
So I left at eleven o’clock, office hours be damned. Ain’t nobody need to see me that bad anyway on a Thursday. And if they did, they have my email. And I raced pell-mell across town, breaking every conceivable traffic law in the process, to be there on time, and all the while, those old symptoms returned. I got all light-headed. My skin got all clammy. And I could feel the butterflies colliding right there deep in the pit of my stomach.
And the thing is, I couldn’t even figure out what it was all about. I really am not that fond of tea, and I don’t even know what the hell a crumpet is.