Everything was new–a condo I bought by myself, a bed for which I splurged, adding an iron headboard and footboard, a bus schedule that was baffling. The first winter, I was introduced to snow that was slushy instead of crunchy, when a pool of water was underneath most steps. My cat Charlie and I were figuring it out day by day.
I went to counselling, I worked on me.
I was determined to succeed in being single and happy. I didn’t want to depend on another person for that happiness. You see, my divorce was difficult for me because I never went into marriage thinking it was an option. I truly struggled with that, and even now, 13 years later, I still struggle sometimes. I want my word to count for something.
Nonetheless, I was one of those women, divorced and starting over on my own. In some respects I’m very fortunate that we didn’t have kids to fight over and because of that our divorce was much less complicated than some of my colleagues. Of course, I wanted them. Of course, there is that void.
My colleague at work was talking about this new guy. And I didn’t care. I finally told her that I didn’t get divorced to be with someone else. As we talked, she said “if you like gentlemen, you should pay attention to Martin. He’s quiet and sweet and wonderful–and totally not my type.”
Ah, but he was mine. Still, I’d kind of sworn off men until I got myself sorted out. As the doors to a new life opened, I eventually ended up working in his unit. And that’s when things got very interesting.
I love crocuses, and I had bought some to put on my desk–but then immediately got sick and never saw them open. Crocuses are special to me–they always remind me that I’ve been gifted with one more spring. When I came back to work, there on my desk was the biggest pot of ready-to-bloom crocuses I’d ever seen. No note, no hint of who gave them to me. But I just knew.
Then my birthday arrived, and Martin took the work unit out for breakfast. He also asked how I was celebrating, and I told him I was going for sushi. It’s my favourite. He asked to come along. So that was our first date, on my birthday. He very politely choked his way through the California rolls. He gagged on the salmon rolls. He was just so gentlemanly about it!
And two weeks later he asked if he could try it again. That was impressive–he was willing to do something he clearly hated more than once if there was a good reason for it. So we went again, and he choked on the tuna rolls, and even on the cucumber rolls.
Two weeks later, another request–and I said yes, as long as he ordered the cooked stuff. He looked at me as though I’d kept some gigantic secret from him. It was possibly the cutest thing I’d ever seen.
It wasn’t long before he started asked questions about getting married again and … I wasn’t ready. Every time he asked, I pushed it further and further away. But on September 1st, we’d had a lovely day at the New York State fair on a camping trip we shared with another friend. That evening, he said “do you think you’ll ever get married again?” There was something so wistful about it.
“Yes,” I said.
He was so stunned he didn’t know what to do.
We were engaged, he presented me with a beautiful ring in October, and by then, the wedding was completely planned. We announced it in church, and told our work colleagues when we handed out the invitations. Most of them never even knew we were dating. It was the best secret ever.