(Editor’s Note: Here’s chapter 2 of my husband’s “love story.” I’m not sure how many chapters there will be, but I do know that he’s enjoying keeping you in suspense (and me too, even though I already know what happens, obviously. But I’ve never heard all of this from his perspective before). I must add that it’s a good thing that I was so forward, or we would not be married today! Sheesh).
Heather really liked the house. It was a turn of the century, two-story that had been restored and updated well, with the charm of original woodwork and hardwood flooring. Original 100-year-old pocket doors, a large front porch, and inviting paint schemes rounded out the package. She thought it was a perfect fit, and soon, we were preparing an offer to present to the sellers. The first thing I noticed about Heather was her animated expressions. She had captivating eyes that spoke volumes. Her expressions, her speech, and her reactions cracked me up. It was an enjoyable process, however it turned into a bidding war. Other offers were coming in from other agents, and eventually Heather lost out to an offer over the listing price. I was disappointed for her, because I knew how excited she was about the house.
When her offer was not accepted, I started looking for other potential homes for her. We kept in touch and looked at other houses periodically. I always had fun with her, and it was fun to tease her. I remember one house we looked at that really creeped her out. It reminded her of the “Amityville Horror” house. It had a lot of dark paneling in it, and weird design features. I found a dumbwaiter type door that led from the kitchen to the dining room, and looked in through the kitchen as she opened the door from the dining room. All she saw when she opened that “hole in the wall” was my head beaming at her, and she screamed. To top it off, we went upstairs and found a small red room (remember “redrum” from “The Shining?”) Well, you get the picture. We left that house like it was infested with fleas and mold, and had a good laugh later.
Eventually, we found a house that we put together an offer on and got accepted. It wasn’t really what she had envisioned for herself, but I think she was getting discouraged and gave in. During the course of the negotiations, I noticed her sense of organization. She did her homework, knew financing rates, and carefully chose an attorney and lender. She ordered a professional home inspection and read it carefully. She made well-informed decisions and asked all the right questions. She took nothing for granted, and made sure she understood each step of the process. I was impressed, and had not worked with other buyers who were so detailed and interested in learning and making informed decisions. She researched the NADA book value of the mobile home she was leaving, and prepared to market it herself. She advertised it, found a buyer, justified her price, and walked the buyer through the process to closing. She was amazing!
After the purchase, Heather began making the new house fit her standards. Cleaning, painting, installing new flooring, and other improvements were all in her plans. One day, shortly after closing, I took a pizza over for lunch and we enjoyed each other’s company. Over the next several months, we didn’t see much of each other, however we had become friends and enjoyed the few times we got a chance to visit. I remember one time thanking her for letting me be her real estate agent, and very un-professionally taking the liberty of giving her a hug through the open window of her car. Other times, she would make little innuendos (as she later referred to them), however I was clueless and didn’t catch on.
I was 41 years old at that time. Heather still laughs about the day that I was having lunch with a friend at the local bakery. My friend and I were asking the woman who owned the bakery how old a man would have to be before she would not get involved with him. Where would she draw the line? Just then, Heather came in and we asked her the same question. Heather said 40 would be her limit. She was 25. The next time we saw each other, she asked “How old are you Glen?” I replied “I’m 41.” She said, “Remember that question you guys asked me at the bakery the other day? Well, I just want you to know that I would make an exception for you.” I still didn’t get it, believe it or not. She can’t believe to this day that she could be so obvious, and me so oblivious. I think my response to her was a simple “Oh.”
Fast forward one year, to a day when everything finally came into focus. I saw Heather downtown and she told me she had a dream about me. My idiotic response was “Really?” Later that day though, my brain finally engaged and I called her to see what the dream was about. One thing led to another, and after about an hour and a half on the phone with her, we were both intensely infatuated, giggling like teenagers, and fascinated at where this could be going.
That weekend, I was beside myself and could think of nothing else but her. I was in awe of the idea that I was getting closer to her, and that she could possibly be interested in me. Here was this beautiful young woman with an unbelievable sense of humor. She was very entertaining, and could take my mind off the rest of the world. I spent the rest of the weekend in a daze, of absolutely no value other than conversion of oxygen into carbon dioxide. I couldn’t eat or sleep, and certainly couldn’t wait to see her. I had been selling real estate for about a year by this time, and still had the old auto shop. I had let all of my employees go four years earlier, so I worked on cars by myself when I wasn’t out selling real estate. On Monday morning, she came into my auto shop and looked fantastic. I wanted to talk with her more, but customers were coming in and things were buzzing. Between customer interventions, we were nervously laughing, smiling, and making small talk. She had to go to work, and so did I, but we were soon on the phone with each other.
The phone calls got longer and more intense. We wanted to know everything about each other. Everything she told me, I liked. I felt like we had known each other forever. The longer we talked, the more we wanted to talk. Here was a woman who understood me. We discussed books we had read, shared song lyrics, and got to know each other better. I was computer illiterate, other than preparing invoices for customers. Heather came to the shop and showed me how to email. This opened up a whole new line of communication for us during the “work” day. Within weeks, I was not making money for the first time in my life, and I loved it! We spent countless hours on the phone and emailing, instead of working. I still can’t believe that she didn’t get fired from her job, because I know it was not possible that she could have produced over 2-3 hours of work per day. I could not work out in the shop for more than 10 minutes without running back into the office to see if she had responded to my last email. The phone calls and emails got very intense and we truly fell in love with each other. At the end of a phone call one day, Heather said “I feel like I should be saying ‘I love you’ when I hang up.” My response was “Say it!” I remember our first kiss. It was intense, and she later said that I was almost physically rough with her. I had no idea that I had gotten carried away with that first encounter. All I could think of to say after I had my arms around her for the first time was “You’re so little.” Some Romeo, eh?
Things heated up quickly, and all I wanted to do was see her, be with her, hold her, kiss her, and tell her how much I loved her. She said it was the same for her. We could not even function in the world anymore. At one point, we decided that things were going too fast and that we needed to try some time apart. It lasted until about 2:30 that afternoon (maybe 1:30). I couldn’t stand it. I went to her in tears and that was the end of that. I told her I couldn’t live without her. That month I got a $320 cell phone bill, and broke out in laughter when I opened it. Nothing else in the world mattered but Heather. I fell in love with her in no small way. I had never felt this before in my life, and began to pity people who never found these feelings. I thought about how it may have never happened to me, if not for that phone call to see a house one year earlier.
Soon we were spending every night together. I couldn’t wait to see her after work, and we were both always late getting to work. We went everywhere together. Every night was spent out on the motorcycle, taking walks, going out on the lake boating, sitting on our favorite bridge throwing rocks in the water, and talking about the future. In a few months, Heather quit her job and started working with me. It was great! Now we could quit wearing out computers and cell phones, and be together while we got absolutely nothing done. At night, we ate popcorn in bed or slept outside under the stars. On Friday nights, we took off on weekend trips. We got lost in each other. I liked the way she cooked for me, the way she kissed me, the way she loved me, the way she sang to me, and the way she put her hair up in a towel after a shower. We liked all the same things, a bottle of wine, Pepperidge Farms Cookies, and time together. We even got crazy one night and put on leathers, jumped on the Harley, and rode to the city for matching tattoos. Music from that time still brings back the magic memories.
We talked about getting married someday. On Earth Day, I spray painted “Heather, will you marry me?” on our favorite bridge, and took her there to surprise her. Soon, we exchanged rings, but felt it was still too soon to get married. We had already addressed all of the issues that people who are going to spend their lives together talked about. One of the things we had discussed early on was children. Heather was young and wanted children. I told her that I had always wanted a daughter, but that I had made a decision to get a vasectomy 8 years earlier. Heather had fertility issues of her own, but we knew that we would do whatever it took to fulfill each other’s dreams. She had my ring inscribed on the inside: “Great love wins all battles.”
Soon we had combined households. The first night we spent together, I couldn’t even sleep! I would doze off, and then wake up a few minutes later to make sure that she was still there. I couldn’t even believe that it was real. Every lunch hour was spent at a local cafe, or playing Yahtzee or UNO over lunch at home. I lost interest in most of my old hobbies and habits, and had no desire to go “out with the guys.” When I did go out snowmobiling or anything like that, I couldn’t wait to get home. My friends probably thought I was boring. I remember talking with Heather on the phone one time while on a snowmobile trip and one of the guys got on the phone with her and said “What have you done with our Glen? You broke him and we can’t fix him.” I had no need to drink and get crazy. I only wanted to get back safely, and had eyes only for her. We took a trip to Savannah, Georgia that year and almost got married. We were mesmerized.
In the early fall of 2001, our lives changed forever. The day started like any other. I went to the shop to get things going for the day. I had cars to finish up, and had to drive about an hour that afternoon to show a house to a client. Heather was still at home, when my Dad called with the news. He wondered if I had heard that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. I turned on the radio and began a day of meeting customers and people who seemed to be in shock. That afternoon, Heather and I took off to go show the house, but everything was such a blur. We couldn’t even go through with the rest of the day’s tasks. I called my client and he was not feeling like he was in any shape to go anywhere either. We were just like everyone else. We didn’t know what to do, and were uncertain of the future of America (or even the world). We spent the day talking about what had happened and what could happen. A major war looked like a possibility, and we looked to the sky wondering if we would see a missile heading toward earth. It was a confusing and depressing day of uncertainty, and our lives together had just begun. The next few weeks would be spent not being able to look away from the images on the television, but the day of 9-11 was just a day of hiding from the world. We ended up at a sand beach on the river that afternoon, just sitting, talking, wondering, fearing, and feeling like the world we knew would never be the same. The next thing I knew, things between Heather and I got very serious (as if they weren’t already). Please post a comment if you want to hear more. In the meantime, take care of yourself and your loved ones, Heather’s husband[print-me/]