This past week, after more than two years together, my longtime companion who also happens to be the love of my life, agreed to be my wife for some unfathomable reason. I know that some of my adoring female fans may shed a tear tonight, but I couldn’t wait any longer to make Allison just as happy as I was when I saw the ring for the first time. Besides, she wasn’t going to wait forever! (Actually, she might have.)
So, here I am, “fiancée” to another person. Not just any person, either — one of the most caring, understanding, patient, beautiful, women I have ever met. It occurred to me as I was attempting to think of a subject for this week’s post that you do not know the full story of how Allison and I met. Now, I know that this only has a passing relation to autoimmune illness, but I’ll ask you to forgive a fool in love who longs to preen.
When I was a wee lad, just seventeen years old, I still had hair, for one thing, and I’ve been told that I was fairly handsome. (I gave them a picture to post with this column, so if you are lucky, they put it somewhere on this page.) I had my share of female admirers, if I do say so myself, ergo I had no problems interacting with the opposite sex. You would think this came in handy when I met Allison, but what happened was quite the opposite.
Allison, for those of you who don’t know, is the cousin of a high school friend, and more importantly, she is a few years younger than my cronies and me. At the age of thirty-five, this makes almost no difference at all, but when you are a seventeen-year-old, three years can make all the difference in the world. Personally, I had no problem with girls who were younger, but my friend viewed Allison as his “annoying little cousin” who never went home. In retrospect, I suppose I wouldn’t want my little cousin hanging around at that age, either. Allison kept coming back, though, and my friend kept telling her to go home. It got so bad that we simply referred to her as “go home Allison.” I’d ask my friend “oh who was there? Go home Allison? Gotcha.”
So it continued like that for a while, with Allison always coming around and “bothering” my friend. The first time I actually met her was at the beach house of this high school chum of mine. We had spent the day at the ocean and had just come back for dinner at the house. I remember it like it was yesterday. As I was walking towards the front door to join the boys on the front porch, I passed a blond-haired girl with glasses coming down the front stairs. I still remember what she was wearing – a pair of shorts with apples on them. She tells me now that they were the height of fashion from The Gap, a store that we all shopped at back then but now I’m told kids wouldn’t be caught dead there.
As I passed my future fiancée, instead of my normal habit of chatting up every girl I could, I simply said “hey.” She smiled coyly and said “hi,” and I heard her giggle a bit as I stepped through the front door onto the deck. Being seventeen years old and still having a full head of hair, I was, of course, an ego-maniac, and I remember thinking to myself “she wants me.” Just because it happened to be true doesn’t make me any less of a jackass, folks. That what high school was, though – bad lunches, worse decisions, and knowing you were just as awesome as you thought you were.
The day expired without me seeing Allison again, and I didn’t give her another thought, to be honest. I saw her a handful of times throughout the college years and beyond, but I never thought she’d be a significant part of my life. I didn’t even realize that her cousin invited her to one of his beach house parties during college (Allison and her friends were the only girls he knew), and because of that soiree she ended up dating someone I have known since I was five years old. By then I had drifted apart from my high school friends and joined up with a much more, um, adventurous crowd. How I still have all my fingers and toes is a mystery to me, but I digress. I didn’t speak with Allison again until recently, when I started writing for The Huffington Post.
Two years ago, after my writing here on CreakyJoints had gotten noticed enough to get me the gig on HuffPo, I authored my second article for the massive website, and it caught the eye of that friend I told you about – the one I’ve known since I was five years old. As he was also Allison’s ex-boyfriend and a stunning optimist, he called her on the phone to see “how she was” after her recent divorce. During that phone call, he mentioned that I was now writing for Huffington and CreakyJoints, and that Allison should check out my articles. So, when she hung up, she did just that.
After reading my posts, Allison requested me as a friend on Facebook. Since, at the time, I had promised myself that I was going to “win” Facebook by any means necessary, I was accepting anyone who wanted to be friends with me – serial killers, mass murderers, seal clubbers – it didn’t matter, I just wanted to see that little number next to the word “friends” climb. Allison McGowan? Sure, sounds like a great friend. It wasn’t until three weeks later that I asked one of my current close friends “who is Allison McGowan?” He responded “Go home Allison.”
The rest is pretty much history, but sufficed to say the story of our first meeting is a column all to itself. There is one addendum to this story, though, that bears telling. All you women out there are going to enjoy this part, I assure you. I never believed in “true love” or “meant to be” or needing someone in your very soul. I always maintained it was hooey invented by Hollywood and Hallmark to sell movie tickets for Julia Roberts and seven-dollar greeting cards to idiots. That is, until I had been dating Allison for a few weeks and she told me she had found something I needed to see. I had no idea what she had in store, but she seemed very excited about it. Little did I know it would pretty much turn my views about love upside down.
As I sat on the couch, Allison brought forth a black and white composition notebook like the ones we all used in elementary school. She told me to read the page that she had opened to. When I looked I realized it was a journal she had kept in her teenage years. As I read, I began to recognize the events being described, and it hit me that she has written about that day at the beach house oh so many years ago. It was an interesting trip down memory lane, for sure, but I didn’t see what the big deal was. Then, right before I stopped reading, I saw it. There, at the top of the page that Allison had filled with her deepest thoughts 19 years ago, written in blue ink with a red heart, were the words “I want to marry Dan Malito. He is so hot!”
Thanks for bearing with me! Besides, what good is your own column if you can’t use it to brag about your wonderful fiancée?