I tried and I tried but I just couldn't find the stories I KNOW I have already written about how Chas and I got engaged and our first dates. So please bear with me if you're rolling your eyes saying "Not this AGAIN" and "She wrote about this LAST week!" Hard as it is to believe, there are almost 700 posts to go through and I'm NOT doing it.
When I first met Chas I was dating his friend, Nick Asshat. I was 29, Chas was almost 35. After three decades on this planet with no real luck in the dating world, I did NOT believe in love at first sight, and, while I still don't believe in it, I do believe in The Lightning Bolt Moment, also known as When You Know, You Know.
I walked in through the door of my roommate's house; my roommate was still up. "Out with Nick?" she asked.
"Yeah," I answered dreamily. "We went to Oktoberfest. I met the man I'm gonna marry."
"Nick ASSHAT?" she asked, incredulous (with good reason).
"No," I answered, still in reverie. "His best friend Chas."
Okay, so the word "best" may have been overstated, since Chas himself might have substituted the word "golfing." But the point -- did you catch THE POINT? I knew then, after only a couple of hours in his presence, that Chas was The One.
Chas? Not so much. Chas took another 3 1/2 years to know that I was The One.
Fast-forward to Joe's Bar, December 11, 1997. The Christmas season was in full swing for me, as a retail gift store owner, and I had worked another 12-hour day, with several more to come before I could rest. When smart people would be home putting their feet up and getting as much sleep as possible, I opted instead for a couple of hours in a tiny packed college bar with my favorite guy. My favorite guy didn't know it, but he had only about three weeks left with me before I pulled up stakes and moved on, because as much as I loved him, I wasn't gonna wait this one out any longer and had given him an unspoken deadline of January 1, 1998 to put up or shut up.
We were talking about my teeny tiny apartment and it's teeny tiny kitchen. I loved the apartment but the kitchen was a nightmare, and I said something to that effect.
"Yeah, I think we should get a house -- one with a decent kitchen," Chas said.
Wait, what? Chas knew I wouldn't move in with him -- not unless we were married. It had less to do with my sky-high morals than with my keen understanding of inertia as it pertains to the human male.
"What are you saying?" I asked him, aware that I was boring holes through his face with my eyes.
A very long and self-conscious pause.
"Are you asking me to MARRY you?" I asked, incredulous.
"Um . . . yeah," answered the normally articulate Chas.
"Well, I wanna hear the words," I said, as petulant as someone with nothing to lose.
"Will you . . . marry me?" asked Chas, just barely audible above the din of the college bar dice games.
"Yes," I answered, suddenly aware I was grinning like an ape.
I reached for a cocktail napkin, then dug around in my purse for a pen. "If this were MY table, I'd want to KNOW!" I said, then proceeded to leave a note for the cocktail waitress.
"He just asked me to marry him . . . and I said YES."